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A TEXT- BOOK OF SEX
FOR PARENTS AND TEACHERS
WALTER M. GALLICHAN
"THE PSYCHOLOGY OF MARRIAGE"
"THE GREAT UNMARRIED"
T. WERNER LAURIE LTD.
30 NEW BRIDGE STREET, E.C.4
TO MY WIFE
NORAH KATHLEEN GALLICHAN
FIFTY years ago in England sexual conduct, when taught at all,
was inculcated by moral maxims alone. Parents counselled
chastity, and left the rest to " natural instinct," without suspecting
that instinct is not a guide to social behaviour. The primary aim
was the preservation of" innocence" in the young by a compulsory
ignorance. In my youth we were told that the wonders of reproduc-
tion were improper subjects of inquiry. Our eager normal curiosity
was hushed, but not stifled. The mysteries grew enormously,
and occupied the mind with futile bewilderment and speculation.
Enlightenment was entirely banned in the home. We learned the
sacred truths of life at haphazard, casually, furtively, and in the
process we drank from poisoned wells and our souls sickened.
Sex was early associated in the juvenile mind with the unclean,
the pathological and the repellent things of human life. Curiosity
and disgust waged a strange conflict. We garnered fantasies and
falsehoods instead of facts. Those of us who were encouraged to
respect for married love were perplexed by the attitude of our
elders regarding "sex." We were taught that the "flesh," the
human body, was "animal,'' and that the aim of virtue was annihila-
tion of "lower desires," the very instincts that arose formidably at
the period when the spiritual nature began to awaken. The power
and the splendour of the love of the sexes were not revealed to us
by sympathetic home teaching. Our ideas of " love '- and " sex !!
were contradictory, misleading and frequently demoralising, The
sparse knowledge gained at the mother's knee was vulgarly dis-
torted and supplemented by conversations with others who had
been reared in the customary tradition and were supposed to be
One of the supreme difficulties in educational guidance in sexual
morality and hygiene is the preparatory expulsion from the mind
of the pupil of these preconceived ideas, idle fables, and indecent
notions learned from ignorant and vicious sources. The state of
'innocence" is an impossibility among modern boys and girls.
Even in those rare instances where the system of protection
through ignorance appears to be effective, there has been no pro-
tection against the spontaneous awakening of impulse- We can-
not assert positively that there is no sexuality in the very youngest
of children. Signs are evident in many cases in infancy. Apart
from all external influence, there is the probability of peripheral
stimulation arousing emotion and manifestation.
Sex education is not a mere question of pedagogics. It is a
main part of education throughout the whole of life. Sexual love
touches morality and hygiene at almost every point. Inquiry into
the most massive emotion experienced by humanity is an absolute
essential of sociology.
In writing this Text-book, a task involving specific difficulties, I
have endeavoured to systematise a method of teaching which
will be helpful to parents and all who have the care of children and
adolescents. It is obvious that there cannot be a strictly formu-
lated single mode of instruction ; I hope that what I have written
may assist in preparing the way for wide parental and scholastic
effort in this urgent educational reform. I trust that this volume
may impress some unpersuaded minds with the importance of the
The Lessons for young children and those of school age are
indications and suggestions for the consideration of teachers who
are puzzled concerning the method of conveying instruction to
boys and girls of different ages. This is not a book for the young,
but for the instructor. It has been arranged to supply a basis of
sex education, and the Lessons given may suggest many others.
The discretion of the parent or teacher must always be exercised
in accord with the child's sex, age and temperament.
I shall be glad if readers who are interested in sex education, or
those who desire information upon special phases of the subjects
discussed, will communicate with me. I wish to thank the teachers
and correspondents who have kindly assisted me with suggestions
WALTER M. GALLICHAN.
GIDEA PARK, ROMFORD,
PART I. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS
I. INTRODUCTORY ... i
II. DIFFICULTIES ..... 14
III. A HISTORICAL SURVEY . . . .24
IV. MODERN DEVELOPMENTS . . .32
PART II. SCIENTIFIC TEACHING
I. PREPARATION FOR TEACHING . . .36
II. INSTRUCTION OF YOUNG CHILDREN . . 49
III. INSTRUCTION FOR ADOLESCENT BOYS . . 60
IV. EDUCATION FOR ADOLESCENT GIRLS . . 85
V. SEXUAL HYGIENE IN CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH . 109
VI. PHYSIOLOGY . . . . .117
VII. THE PSYCHOPATHOLOGY OF SEX . . 121
PART III. EDUCATIONAL FACTORS
I. THE HOME TRAINING .... 128
II. THE SCHOOL ..... 146
III. SOCIAL INFLUENCES .... 162
IV. THE BOOK . . . , .171
I. THE MENACE OF IGNORANCE . . .185
II. WOMAN'S PART IN SEX EDUCATION . . 200
III. VIEWS OF MODERN TEACHERS . . , 209
" FOR the due discharge of parental functions, the proper guidance
is to be found only in Science." HERBERT SPENCER.
" THERE is no creature more liable than man to be spoiled by bad
training on the one hand, or to be improved by good training on the
other ; and if the present age has any good reason to hope, as we
are inclined to think it has, that it contains within itself the germs
of a higher development of the race than the earth has yet seen,
such hope can grow only from the serious concern with which both
parents and teachers shall bring themselves into a reverential
attitude before the great vital forces of Nature, physical and
moral." Prof. JOHN STUART BLACKIE.
" IT may be at last that sexual love that tired angel who through
the ages has presided over the march of humanity, with distraught
eyes, and feather-shafts broken, and wings drabbled in the mires
of lust and greed, and golden locks caked over with the dust of
injustice and oppression till those looking at him have sometimes
cried in terror, * He is the Evil and not the Good of life,' and have
sought, if it were not possible, to exterminate him shall yet, at
last, bathed from the mire and dust of ages in the streams of
friendship and freedom, leap upwards, with white wings spread,
resplendent in the sunshine of a distant future the essentially
Good and Beautiful of human existence." OLIVE SCHREINER.
A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX
PART I. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS
THE moral and rational direction of the erotic, or sexual,
impulse, through rightful education in the home and the
school, is now recognised by most thoughtful minds as an
essential of social ethics and national hygiene. During the
past fifty years the need for this important instruction in
the conduct of life has been urged by reformers, clergymen,
physicians and teachers in Europe and America. Parents,
in an ever-increasing number, are becoming solicitous for
the right guidance of children in the understanding, the
control and the sublimation of the sex emotion. There is
an unprecedented demand for enlightenment in this long-
neglected field of personal, social, and racial health. The
methods of withholding sane knowledge, obscuring the
great facts of human life, and meeting inquiry with
indifference, evasion or falsehood have been tried and
Ignorance in this matter has proved one of the strongest
allies of vice and disease. Prudery has never fostered
purity. The condemnation of a natural spirit of curiosity
has not annihilated curiosity, but transformed it into
furtive prurience. Impure, vulgar and pernicious sources
of information have been substituted for objective
scientific teaching; and the whole subject of sex love and
2 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
reproduction has tended to become a morbid preoccupation
of distorted minds.
In the civilised countries it is almost rare to find a man
or woman who has developed rationally or sanely in know-
ledge of the vital instinct. Civilisation intensifies the
secondary sexual characters, and accentuates and elaborates
the complexity of the emotion of love. It has never been
simple to direct and inhibit the most powerful of passions
experienced by mankind. Progress has been a constant
repression, involving conflict, and giving rise to stern com-
bat between social custom and moral ideas and strongly
vehement primitive desires. Refinement does not destroy
the force of this universal impulsion. All the artifices and
the culture of the past great civilisations complicated the
relation of sex to society.
Anthropology and psychology, and more especially the
investigation of the subconscious, or unconscious, self, are
demonstrating that the fear of sex has never been absent
from the minds of men. The association of sex with the
holy, or the forbidden, and the widespread ascription of
danger in the union of the sexes, cannot be banished from
the human brain in a few generations. Very slowly we are
approaching, for the first time in man's history, a sane
intellectual perception of the sexual impulse. The more
widely the subject is studied the stronger becomes the
conviction that an eternal ignorance has gravely misled
All the rigorous endeavours to ignore the sway of sex,
to annihilate desires, to expel nature, and to extol celibacy
as the highest spiritual ideal have proved unavailing.
These efforts of total suppression have often induced ab-
normality and vice ; for the way of sublimation is not
in attempted extinction, but in transference. The very
teaching of chastity has been widely nugatory through a
misapprehension of physiological laws, mental processes
and manifold internal and external factors influencing
Dread of the force of sex has had a large share in the
framing of moral and social codes. There is, however,
always the risk that fear may become morbid or patho-
logical. And there can be no question that this psycho-
neurotic anxiety is a very common symptom among the
ice of tin !<; >i se .ual manifestations
arising from I may :il* Hie following
from a letter to Professor Stanley Hall, written by a well-
known doctor of philosophy :
" My entire youth, from six to eighteen, was made
miserable from lack of knowledge that anyone who knew
anything of the nature of puberty might have given. This
long sense of defect, dread of operation, shame and worry
has left an indelible mark."
Few men and women of to-day are entirely free from
sex phobias or safe from psychic sexual affronts or conflicts.
The untaught child or youth is dangerously exposed to
these secret fears and to the chances of shock, sometimes
leading to a minor neurosis or a life of mental conflict.
For example, it is well known that the first appearance of
the monthly function alarms a great number of uninstructed
girls. In numerous cases described by physicians hysteria
began at this crisis, and in others sensitive girls have
attempted suicide under the delusion that they were
assailed with a terrible disease. Probably, in ordinary
normal instances, the uninformed girl endures considerable
anxiety and bewilderment at the first menstrual period.
The dreads and frights to which inexperienced brides are
the prey are an exceedingly common cause of psychic
injury. The agonies of morally-predisposed lads, wrought
by sudden spontaneous longings, and by the phenomenon
of the nocturnal dream and automatic emission, can scarcely
The new system of psychotherapeutics (mind-healing)
instituted by Freud, and employed by Jung, Bjerre,
Ferenczi, Brill, Ernest Jones and other mental pathologists,
is enlarging our knowledge of the dominant part that sex
plays in human psychology. Psychologists of eminence
are satisfied, after many years of research, that one of the
chief sources of the minor mental disturbances that afflict
millions of men and women of our times is to be sought
in erotic complexes. These obscure longings, fears and
4 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
ungratified wishes may appear quite unrelated to the sexual
impulse. Nevertheless, in the mature view of scientific
inquirers, there is always a lesion, a psychic injury con-
nected with sex, or a fixation of infantile impressions.
Although some of the exponents of the new psychology
do not accept, in an unqualified degree, this unvarying
causation of neurosis, they are all profoundly impressed by
the powerful influence of the sexual libido upon thought
and action that may seem entirely devoid of such influence.
Whenever we encounter morbid anxiety, or " anxiety-
neurosis," we shall find, on the evidence of the psycho-
analysts, " a reaction against repressed sexuality." The
" key to the problem of the psychoneuroses," it is main-
tained, can only be found by those who accept the sexual
cause of the pathological states. " The erotic conflict,"
states Jung, of Zurich University, " is the key to the con-
ception of neurosis." "The question which troubles the
patient is whether you like it or not the ' sexual ques-
tion/ or, more precisely, the problem of present-day sexual
Those who boast that love conflicts do not trouble them,
that the sexual question is " nonsense," and that they
have no sexual emotions are quite unconscious that a host
of nervous signs, and even some physical symptoms, reveal
quite plainly to the psychotherapist that " the great
conflict " is the origin of their trouble, though ascribed by
them to other sources. 1 " Only a few " can escape this
common human perplexity.
" Neurosis is probably altogether impossible with healthy
physiological marital life. . . . The major amount of the
nerves and hysteria of the present day may be traced to
faulty sexual hygiene." 2 No evidence is now wanting to
support the view that sexual ignorance is a fruitful cause
of neurotic and psychic disorder.
A single misstatement on the part of the parent may
shatter a child's faith in the parental wisdom and honesty.
We need a complete candour. Facts are the only secure
basis for moral codes and the only guide in the hygiene
of the sex life. It is just the ignoring of facts that leads
1 Analytical Psychology.
8 The Healthy Marriage. G. T. Wrench, M.D., B.Sc.
us into neurosis, perversion and vice. " Shic4ding " the
young may, and often does, defeat its object very disas-
trously. One chance conversation with an attractive but
vicious or vulgar companion may entirely obliterate all
the parental influence. " Facts " that is to say, scientific
knowledge must always be the surest protection of youth
The sex development of the girl, especially at the period
of puberty, is more complicated than that of the boy.
Yet it is precisely the girl whose sex education is most
neglected. That the methods of imparting the necessary
instruction must often vary to some extent in regard to
the sex of the pupil will be admitted by most teachers.
But any suggestion that the truth should be withheld from
girls, by reason of their superior feminine modesty, can only
be regarded as reactionary. Among all the writers who
may lay claim to attention in this matter I can only recall
one, Professor Miinsterberg, who affirms that girls should
not receive any instruction. Undoubtedly the character
and the manner of sex education are of supremely vital
importance ; but the enlightenment must certainly be as
sound in the case of girls as in boys.
There may indeed be excellent reasons why the education
of girls in sexual physiology and hygiene should be wider
than that of their brothers. The burden of parentage falls
chiefly upon the female sex, not only in married life, but
from the pre-pubertal stage until the menopause. Sex is
more generally diffused in woman than in man. She is
destined to conceive and bear as well as to spiritual love,
and to these ends she is forced to endure physiological
disabilities. Moreover, as the first and earliest teachers
of the young, women have an immense responsibility
towards their children and to the community. It is
therefore very important that the mothers should be well
taught before they essay to teach. Furthermore, love
being even more essential for the psychic and physical
well-being of woman than of man, and as her main interests
are concentrated upon the family life and the tending of
children, her knowledge of the principles of healthy pro-
creation and the rearing of the young should be as complete
as possible ; and the sex question in all its bearings upon the
6 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
home, the morals of the young, and the laws and customs of
society should be a question of paramount significance.
The sexual problem exists for all of us, and although
civilisation intensifies the problem, it provides also, by the
extension of knowledge, science and experience, the means
for grappling with the difficulty. No one who has a sense
of responsibility towards the children born to him can evade
this question. The average conscientious parent wishes
that his son and daughter may fare better through the
dangers and trials of life than he has fared. It is his desire
that his child may grow up sane in mind and sound in
body, well equipped for the inexorable struggle of modern
life. The ordinary system of education provides only a
few of the essentials of such equipment. A boy or girl
may pass years at school and college and remain in late
adolescence completely ignorant of the structure of their
bodies and the physical functions. At the onset of puberty,
when bodily and psychic manifestations of a novel nature
intrude themselves, and lead to inevitable speculation and
reflection, the youth and the maiden are interned for the
greater part of each year with members of their own sex
and separated from the parents. It is now that the soul of
the young awakens. This is the supreme hour for learning
the first important lessons of life. Can it be said that the
average boy or girl receives even a rudimentary enlighten-
ment at this critical age ? Such ^^information as the young
gain is gathered casually and haphazard by conversations
with companions as ignorant as themselves, by chance
leading, and by secret conjecture.
At this adolescent climax the vital energy begins to arise
in a new form. Between the early spontaneous mani-
festations of this energy in childhood and the fresh arousing
at the coming of puberty there is usually a latency period.
The boy or girl is often not consciously interested in sexual
affairs at this stage of pre-pubertal development. But the
development of the mysterious internal secreting glands,
with the hormones or " arousers," begins to affect emotion
and tinge thought. Without any external stimulation there
may be a mingling of hormone fluids with the blood stream,
musing vague unrest and new longings. There are also
specific signs in the parts of generation, giving rise to
un-.itisticd rctlm ions and often to considerable perplexity
and wonder. The mental soil is prepared for aberrant or
morbid brooding. There is a development of secretive-
ness and shyness. Often physical sensations, unrestful-
ness, worry about passing examinations, the suggestion
or example of companions, curiosity leading to experiment
or lascivious conversations are the incentives to a habit of
Frequently there is a youthful tendency to sexual inver-
sion which is partly due to the segregation of the sexes.
Both boys and girls are liable to develop a semi-passionate
affection, or a sensuous attachment, for one of their own
sex. This temporary aberration in adolescence is so preva-
lent that some scientific inquirers regard it almost as a
normal phase of youthful sex development. It is certain
that these attractions are most frequently of a purely senti-
mental character, and they may be described as a reaching
out of the young emotions for love. In many instances the
pupil, boy or girl, is affected emotionally by an older person
of the same sex. There is in some cases a risk that the
susceptible or the predisposed by heredity may become
actually inverted (homo-sexual), especially when under the
influence of an adult of an abnormal type. This danger
is so plainly recognised by all intelligent head masters and
mistresses that there is no need here to enlarge upon it.
Unquestionably a want of comprehension of the sexual
instinct and all that it implicates renders the young peril-
ously exposed to this aberration during the years of tutelage.
The risks for the unprepared boy are increased when he
leaves school and mixes freely in all kinds of company.
He is bound to encounter licentious persons whose con-
versation and example may colour the whole of his career.
When we are forewarned by the fact that in Europe an
enormous number of cases of gonorrhoea are contracted by
youths under the age of twenty-one, we should realise the
sheer necessity for safeguarding the young by fitting in-
struction upon the dangers of venereal disease. Many are
blighted upon the very threshold of manhood. The in-
;on of young children is terribly frequent in Europe and
America. his <"' .'&'
"A well-known "woman physician of Chicago affirms
8 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
that ignorance is often responsible for the attitude of the
girl towards immorality. As an instance she cites the case
of a girl now working at one of the establishments in the
stockyards whose mother ' did not tell her things.' She is
now five months pregnant." 1
There is now a wide agreement among eminent physicians
and the commissioners at conferences, on venereal maladies
that one of the most effective preventives of the spread of the
evil is sex education. " Many of the immoral influences and
dangers which are constantly surrounding young children
on the street, in their amusements and in business life may
be counteracted and minimised by proper moral teaching
and scientific instruction." 2 Bloch recommends such en-
lightenment, in the final stage of education, in sexual physi-
ology and hygiene. 3 The majority of the medical witnesses
at the British Royal Commission on Venereal Disease (1913-
1914) spoke earnestly in advocacy of the instruction of
young people of both sexes.
We must accept the fact that the great mass of persons in
the higher civilised societies are more or less unbalanced in
their judgments upon questions of sex. This condition is
due to a want of education. No doubt inherited tendency
to fears and superstitions, bred in primitive brains, has a
part in this phenomenon of the cultured races. But lack
of sane teaching in childhood and youth is the chief cause of
the perversion of outlook upon the subject. The prudish
recoils and repugnances and the libidinous prurience spring
from a deplorably defective knowledge of the great vital emotion.
Our want of respect for sex is a foe to true morality, and a peril
to national and racial health of mind and body.
The primary duty of legislators, ethical leaders, jurists,
pedagogues and sociologists is to instruct themselves in the
science of sexualogy. There is no possible way of escape
from the Sex Problem. The libido, in its wide sense, is the
urge of all humanity, just and unjust, wise and simple, rich
and poor alike. To understand human nature we must
1 The Social Evil in Chicago. 1911. American Vigilance Associa-
tion. 2 Ibid.
3 '.lhe Sexual Life of Our Time. Iwan Bloch, M.D. English
trans, by Dr Eden Paul. 1908.
From an extensive collection of authoritative opinion
upon the urgent need for educational guidance I have
selected the following extracts. Other views of scientific
minds will be found in quotation throughout the volume.
Inquiry into the literature of the Sex Question in Europe
and America shows the widespread and increasing develop-
ment of a fervent demand for knowledge on a soundly
Sir THOMAS BARLOW, Bart. (President Roy. Coll. of Physicians),
before the Royal Commission on Venereal Diseases, 1914
Question : " Apart from the general educative effect on the public
\vhich our Report may have, do you think any special instruc-
tion on these subjects is desirable ? "
Sir THOMAS BARLOW : " Yes, very desirable. ... I am willing to
have it come from all sources if only the teachers are properly
enlightened. . . . Directly young people are sent to work, what-
ever the work may be, I think they ought to have instruction
on this matter." Referring to knowledge of sex matters among
the young, Sir T. BARLOW said : "It is awful the way they
learn them now. They learn them in the very worst way."
Sir VICTOR HORSLEY said : " I would teach every child at the age
of twelve reproduction. ... In the secondary schools they
ought to receive full instruction. ... 1 think the public will
get accustomed to it, and I think the quicker they do the
Dr CHALMERS (Med. Officer for Health, Glasgow) : "I think on
general sexual matters of morality so called that instruction
might be properly given to both sexes."
Dr BURNET HAM (Head of Health Department, Victoria) : " The
educational factor undoubtedly is an important one."
Mr J. E. LANE, F.R.C.S. (Senior Surgeon, London Lock Hospital) :
" There rm;st be, in the first place, some elementary idea of
physiology and sexual physiology."
Mr D. POWER (Surgeon and Lecturer, St Bartholomew's Hospital)
replied to a question that he thought " the whole of the com-
munity wants educating."
Dr D. WHITE : " As they are approaching that age [between fourteen
and fifteen] I think the moral education ought to be helped out
with a knowledge of the physiological facts."
Dr HELEN WILSON advocated instruction by lecture, leaflet.
and private talk, with " a background of the physiological and
io A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
Dr E. B. SHERLOCK, B.Sc., Lecturer on Biology (author of The
Feeble-Minded) : " So long as the scientific spirit actuates those
who carry on the work of investigation, nothing but benefit
to society at large can result from a critical study of our con-
ceptions of sexual morality."
Dr BERNARD HOLLANDER (Nervous Disorders of Women] : "Amongst
young women of a marriageable age there is often a great deal
of ignorance concerning reproductive functions, and a still
greater amount of half knowledge, which is more dangerous than
total ignorance. . . ."
Dr T. N. KELYNACK (editor of The Child) : " It is being recognised
that a rational education must provide for adequate instruc-
tion in regard to sex hygiene. ... In all religious, social and
educational systems the meaning and manifestations of the
sex instinct must receive foremost consideration " (The Child,
Dr G. T. WRENCH, M.D. (The Healthy Marriage): "Irreverence
towards sex and ignoring of its primary importance to men
and women cannot but be gravely disadvantageous to the
cleanliness and health of any society."
The late Prof. E. METCHNIKOFF described the neglect of sexual
instruction as highly culpable " the most immoral of acts."
Dr HAVELOCK ELLIS (Ed. Contemporary Science Series, and author
of Studies in the Psychology of Sex) says : "In England little
or no progress has yet been made. ... It must indeed be said
that those who oppose the sexual enlightenment of youth in
large cities are directly allying themselves, whether or not they
know it, with the influences that make for vice and immorality.
... It is scarcely necessary to say that the ordinary teacher
of either sex is quite incompetent to speak of sexual hygiene."
Dr F. M. GOODCHILD (Arena, March, 1896) : " It is little short of
criminal to send our young people into the midst of the excite-
ments and temptations of a great city with no more prepara-
tion than if they were going to live in Paradise."
Professor KARL PEARSON, M.A. : " Since the entire development of
our species is quite dependent on the sex relations, the natural
historian of the future will appeal, to an extent scarcely imagined
in the present, to the science of sexualogy and to the formal
history of sex."
STEPHEN PAGET, M.D. : " All of us, when we think seriously about
boys and girls from fourteen to eighteen years old, have at the
back of our minds the thought of sex. . . . We must begin
while they are children. . . . But we are still at sixes and
sevens how to tell children about their bodily nature. ... I
do not believe that what we call ' innocence ' is any sane pro
tection to boys and girls against impure or perverted ways in
THE BISHOP 01- LONDON : " The time li.is gone l>v for whispers and
paraphrases. Boys and girls must be told what these great
vital farts of life moan, and they must be given the proper
knowledge of their bodies and the proper care of them. No
abstractions : the only way now is to be frank, man to man."
A. A. BRILL, M.D., Ph.B. (author of Psychanalysis) : " The ignor-
ance displayed in matters sexual is appalling."
Mr SIDNEY UNWIN (Bedales School, England) : " Sexual indulgence
is ultimately connected with the affections, and the affections
must be trained as much as any other part of the child's person-
ality if he is to have control and a right use of the sex force
within him." l
Dr EIHJARD CERESOLE, LAUSANNE (at the International Congress
on School Hygiene, 1907) : " The ideas of the day on sexual
hygiene and ethics are still those of the barbaric ages. They
are not in harmony with the progress of modern science, and
they constitute a permanent and inveterate danger to society."
Prof. JUNG, Zurich University (Analytical Psychology) : " The prob-
lem of the present day, sexual morality, , . . The problem and
conflicts of love are of fundamental importance for humanity,
and with increasingly careful study it comes out ever more
clearly that the love life is of immensely greater importance
than the individual suspects."
Principal G. STANLEY HALL : " This probably ought to be the most
inspiring of all topics to teach as to the truly pure in heart
it is the most beautiful of all " (Adolescence}.
Professor MAURICE A. BIGELOW (Columbia University) : " At
present there are no thoroughly satisfactory books for adolescent
boys and girls. . . . There is still plenty of chance for authors
to experiment in writing books of this class. . . .
" An adolescent girl of fourteen to sixteen should know the
general plan of her own sexual structure " (Sex Education),
Dr MARY SCHARLIEB, M.D. (Youth and Sex) : " It is a positive
cruelty to allow a young woman to marry without knowing
facts on which her happiness depends."
Mr F. ARTHUR SIBLY, M.A. (Headmaster, Wycliffe College, Stone-
house) : "No improvement on present conditions is possible
until there has been much plainer speaking."
Prof. PATRICK GEUDES and Prof. J. A. THOMSON (Problems of Sex) :
" They should be told, honestly and hopefully, that these are
the normal and necessary growth stirrings of life. . . .
" It is ignorance, not science, which engenders pruriency and
communicates filthy miivledness. . . . There is too much mist
*See opinion of Mr J. II. Hadley in Chapter Til , Part II., of this
volume, " Views of Teachers."
12 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
about the life journey, from its origins and at its climax mists
dark and unwholesome, favouring errors of judgment and errors
of conduct " (Sex).
Dr ERNEST JONES (Psychoanalysis): "The early development of
the sexual instinct is a highly delicate one, and one peculiarly
prone to errors both of direction and of intensity."
Dr W. F. ROBIE (Rational Sex Ethics) refers to " the Cimmerian
darkness which surrounds the sexual question for most young
people, and indirectly enters the married state. . '. . I think
this emotional appeal is the principal point of attack in the
forewarning and training of young people in a correct view of
the sexual life."
PAOL BJERRE, M.D. (History and Practice of Psychanalysis) : " That
sexual development is the hardest test for a human being must
indeed be considered a universally accepted truth."
Sir JAMES PAGET, M.D. (Sexual Hypochondriasis) : " Ignorance
about sexual affairs seems to be a notable characteristic of the
more civilised part of the human race." Sir J. PAGET recom-
mended instruction in the duties of marital life.
Miss HOSKYNS ABRAHALL (Child Nature and Education}: "Early
adolescence is the time when boys and girls should begin to
realise the responsibility of one generation to the next, should
learn to feel that they are to hand on a great inheritance, and
should be animated by the generous resolve not to suffer this to
THE VICE-COMMISSION OF CHICAGO (1911): "The Commission
believes that in the case of children beyond the age of puberty
sex hygiene may be taught in schools under carefully trained
and scientifically instructed teachers. For younger children
the parents should do the teaching as the part of a sacred duty.
... In colleges and universities sex hygiene should be univers-
Rev. HUGH NORTHCOTE (Christianity and Sex Problems] : "If
mothers with marriageable daughters would carefully and
rightly consider the matter, they would in almost all cases find
the duty a possible one, and would be able to give a theoretical
knowledge of the sexual process with such considerateness and
tact as neither to stimulate unduly nor to stifle the just growth
of sexual emotion."
Dr CHARLES D. Fox (Psychopathology of Hysteria] : " It is indeed
deplorable that a prolific cause of hysteria and its manifestations
is the culpable ignorance of young girls."
JUDGE LINDSAY (Juvenile Court of Denver). " In nearly every
case the children brought before the court said that it was not
from their parents, but in the street, or from older companions
that they learnt the facts of sex. ' Parents do not know their
children, nor have they the least idea of what their children
know, or what their children talk about and do away from them.'
Judge Lindsay states that nine tenths of schoolboys and school
girls are very inquisitive concerning matters of sex" (extract
from Sex in Relation to Socie.'y, by Ilavelock Ellis).
EDWARD CARPI MKR : " The civilised girl is led to the altar often
in uttermost ignorance and misunderstanding of tho sacrificial
rites about to be consummated."
CANON LYTTELTON, formerly Headmaster of Eton, holds that the
necessary facts of paternity must be explained to both boys
and girls (I raining of the Young in Laws of Sex}.
Dr GEORGE H. NAPHEYS, M.D. (Physical Life of Woman) : " Ignor-
ance here (i.e. in marriage) means suffering, disease and some-
times death. Let us then interrogate science in regard to these
matters among the most interesting of all human concerns."
Professor E. H. STARLING, University College, London (letter to the
author in Married Love, by Dr M. C. Stopes): " Instinct in
man is all insufficient to determine social behaviour, and there
is need of instruction in the highest of physiological functions,
that of reproduction. ... It is better to acquire knowledge by
instruction than by a type of experience which is nearly always
sordid, and may be fraught with danger to the health of the
individual and of the family."
Mr CECIL M. CHAPMAN, Metropolitan Magistrate, said : " I believe
that the root cause of nearly all this injustice and immorality
lies in the wrong attitude of mind regarding sex relations which
still misleads public opinion."
M. EDEN PAUL, M.D. : " The time appears to be ripe for a full
discussion of topics which it has, until quite recently, been
the custom to ignore " (Prefatory Note to Eng. trans.. The
Sexual Life of Our 1 ime).
THE principal hindrances to the diffusion of knowledge of
the laws of sex, the reproductive process and racial improve-
ment are: (i) the apathy of a large number of the com-
munity ; (2) hesitation, resistance, and occasionally hostility
on the part of a proportion of parents ; (3) the lack of
capable scientifically-trained instructors.
The indifference to the question is undoubtedly lessening
among the educated classes ; still a large amount of pioneer
work is necessary before the need for sex education on sound
principles is widely admitted. We have still an opposing
party advocating silence, obfuscation, or evasion. There
are many persons, with a very superficial outlook upon
the matter, who endeavour to persuade themselves that
" nature " takes care of sexual morality and hygiene, and
that " natural instinct " provides adequate guidance in
childhood, youth and conjugality. This serious mis-
apprehension causes much individual and social error and
As for those who belittle or condemn all effort to spread
the light amid a gloom that can only be described as Cim-
merian or appalling, we can merely hope to counteract their
apathy or opposition by tactful education in socialisation.
Whenever a topic is judged by the unreflective or the stub-
bornly conventional as unnecessary, idle or unimportant,
we may well inquire into the cause of the resistance.
Generally it will be discovered that the actual aversion
towards inquiry is a test of the deep importance for personal
study. Individual sex complexes, fear, shame, prudery,
disillusionment with love, and marital trouble are often
the sources of an almost invincible prejudice against sex
1 See remarks by Prof. Starling in opening chapter.
psychology. The- nces are extremely common in
the eiviib.il nations. specially in the \\Vst. They are
frequently so strong that sex matters are banished to the
realm of the imdebatable, and sometimes even described as
"revolting," "disgusting," "unclean" or "abominable."
Even some of the pioneers of women's social freedom
have sho\vn resistance to enlightenment in simple facts of
the natural order. Mary Wollstonecroft, who was con-
sidered highly " advanced " in her day, declared that the
teaching of botany and the reproduction of plants to young
women would soil their innocence and imperil their sense of
modesty. Mrs Lynn Lynton was opposed to education in
the laws of sex, and frequently declaimed against the spread
of vital knowledge among women.
It follows from the apathy, want of knowledge and the
inimical attitude that so few parents and pedagogues are
fitted for the duty of training the young in the guidance of
the sex impulse. While there is no widespread recogni-
tion of the supreme need for this knowledge, there must
be great difficulty in finding well-qualified monitors. This
serious deficiency can only be mended by a gradual process
of popular adult education. It is therefore necessary to
reiterate that parental and scholastic enthusiasm must be
fostered by every possible means. Granting the existence
of a still formidable prejudice, based upon a want of broad
appreciation of the significance of the subject, it can scarcely
be said, as in the statement of one of the critics of my books, 1
that there are " too many " published contributions to the
question. So long as sex education is not included in the
general education for life, there can scarcely be an undue
insistence in speech and written word upon the necessity
for this teaching.
The combating of ignorance, prejudice arising from false
modesty and false moral estimates, and the vulgar views of
the street, is a work requiring fortitude and hardihood.
Even the publication of earnest scientific works on sexual
physiology and psychology is still beset with some difficulty.
The pornographic or lascivious view of sex is one of the
f actorsof resistance to reverential inquiry. A typical devotee
of the lewd in literature and art is most frequently, if not
1 T he Psychology of Marriage 1918.
16 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
invariably, an opponent of sane sex teaching. At the best,
he or she is indifferent to the scientific and idealistic aspects.
No help can ever be expected from the prurient minds of
either sex. The man who collects books described as
erotica, gloats over indecent photographs, and relates un-
clean jests is often quite ready to join with the most ultra-
prudish in the denunciation and misrepresentation of the
scientific teaching of sex. This attitude of a large number
of adults is naturally imitated by the young who come
under their influence. As a result, quite young children
may start life with a meretricious view of all natural sex
functions and processes, and the greatest care and ingenuity
of the teacher may be almost or entirely powerless to remove
the blight from the mind.
The cultivation of the respectful attitude in the minds of
the young is often rendered difficult by the fact that the
soul has been stained by vulgar and lewd suggestions.
There is no doubt that the parent who thinks that ignorance
is better than knowledge has often been corrupted in his
youth. And instead of. realising that the sure armour of
pure knowledge would have protected him, he forms the
fatal judgment that a profounder ignorance will prove a
moral safeguard for his child.
But how can this entire blankness of thought and imagina-
tion be guaranteed in the ordinary life of a child or youth of
our day ? Such ignorance is impossible. Even without
external influence, the stirrings of the sex emotion are
bound to arise internally and spontaneously in the most
normal of children. Furthermore, it is ascertained that a
healthy general development of the mind and body is
usually accompanied by a vigorous functioning of sex.
As a medical friend remarked to me years ago : "If
I imprisoned my little boy on the top of a high tower
he would still have sexual thoughts and impulses from
The hankering for the improper and the obscene is a
manifestation of the tremendous misdirection of the re-
pressive method. It is becoming more and more evident
that children reared with a healthy knowledge of sex matters
do not develop a taste for conversational improprieties and
vulgarity. The effort of total suppression frequently, if
not in all cases, results in a prurient as opposed to a
wholesome ruiin- itv.
The etiology of the in. i. vent story or joke is now beginning
to be understood. 1 It is of the nature of a relief or explosion.
The censored or taboo topic undoubtedly becomes frequently
an absorbing secret subject of reflection. Inevitably man
yearns for the forbidden fruit. The more severe the pro-
scriptions the stronger the curiosity, and the more potent
the temptation to evade them. This curiosity is, ho'.\
modified to a large degree by a familiarity with the scientific
facts of sexuality. Thus we cannot too often repeat that
science has the kev to purity of thought and behaviour.
The vicarious gratification of sexual desire is instanced
in the case of the inveterate obscene jester. Repression
of thought and act becomes unendurable and the pent-up
feeling seeks a vent. Now, as the opportunities for sane
discussion of the longings are exceedingly limited, through
social convention, prudish prejudice and innate dreads, relief
is sought in the common and tolerated method of society
e.g. the double-meaning joke of a sexual character, the in-
decent " limerick," the reading of pornographic books, and
the very common habit of scribbling rhymes and indecencies
upon walls. These practices reveal a tremendous ill-
repressed preoccupation with the obscene in minds that
have never been directed towards a clear comprehension
of the high meaning of the natural instincts.
The objections to enlightened education in sex must now
be considered with cautious impartiality. There is a plea
that this knowledge is " dangerous." But no one has
pointed out specific instances of immoral conduct, impro-
priety of speech and demeanour, or other ill results of the
scientific teaching of sex hygiene and ethics. The risk of
emotional excitation and the arousing of erotic desire pre-
maturely are extremely rare contingencies. That sexual
erethism may be aroused in some hyperaesthesic adults by
1 For a full discussion c re Wit in A'? 'alien to the I' nconscioits, by
Fioi. Sigmund Freud.
i8 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
even inspecting a physiological diagram is true in a very
few cases. I have been told by a mature woman that the
reading of a work on physiology, in which the organs of sex
were explained, aroused desires that had been partially
dormant. This, however, is no argument against the ac-
quisition of knowledge for the mass of men and women.
In the above instance my informant had led a life of
intense repression of ordinary intelligent curiosity. She
was, on her own admission, often secretly stirred with
spontaneous, powerful yearnings, which she scarcely under-
stood. In very early childhood she contracted a common
habit, through the suggestion of a female servant, and her
eroticism had developed in a thoroughly morbid soil. Her
mother had silenced all her youthful questions concerning
the mystery of birth, the relations of the sexes, and the
periodic function of women. She was austerely com-
manded not to think about such things. This lady married
at a rather late age and has shown a very strong resistance
to normal sexual relations with her husband.
This example may be accepted as a warning and as a
common typical instance of the need for sensible instruc-
tion in girlhood. The thrusting down of the natural con-
scious wish for information, the long abnormal absorption
with mental sexual images and the prudish reactions had
induced sex hypersesthesia in a strongly amorous subject.
Almost anything that can be said to possess a stimulating
quality would be likely to arouse erotic excitement in such
a mind. These stimuli are very abundant for the normal
and perfectly healthy person. For the abnormal and the
morbid they are immensely more numerous. The over-
sexed person lives constantly exposed to incitements and
mental aphrodisiacs. Hence sensation may be stimulated
by objects, sounds, odours and contacts that would have
no influence upon the normal being.
Suitable enlightenment in childhood would, in the great
majority of instances, prevent abnormal or aberrant sexual
development. If erotic feeling is aroused by the spectacle
of a plan of the human body, or by a sculptured image of
the human form, there is a too intense susceptibility to
stimuli. This sexual hypersesthesia is often the consequence
of an undue repression, as exampled by some of the mediaeval
ascetics. It arises also from the suppression of natural
inquiry in the manifestations of the sexual life and the
scheme of reproduction. If sex is regarded from the earliest
years as intrinsically shameful, or associated with evil,
there is every chance that the mental attitude to even the
most beautiful and elevating emotions may become dis-
torted and even diseased.
Opposition to sex education among the young on the
ground that such teaching may foster premature desires
is not in the interest of morality. We cannot leave the
mind of the child entirely blank. The influences of the
world, even in childhood, are too numerous and constant.
A father assured Professor Jung that his little daughter
was absolutely " innocent " of all knowledge of sexual
matters. The professor discovered that the child had an
inveterate auto-erotic habit. A very large number of
children of both sexes discover sex sensation spontane-
ously, and often long before puberty.
It is impossible to preserve an absolute ignorance and
there is no validity in the protest that children should,
not receive instruction. Absolute ignorance, even in quiU
young children, and in the most refined environment, is scarcely
possible in modern life, and more especially in the case of the
young brought up in towns. Parents who fear to imperil
childish modesty by the teaching of physiology should
inquire whether this risk is not infinitely greater when
the acquisition of knowledge is left wholly to chance. The
untaught and unprepared child is usually only too easily
affected by the first flippant or vulgar companion with
whom he or she associates. Moreover, as I have pointed
out, we have not only to protect the child from evil influ-
ences of an external character, but we need to explain the
automatic internal arousing of the new desires that often
develop before the normal age of puberty.
The preliminary information concerning birth cannot
cause immodesty, if imparted judiciously and reverentially.
On the contrary, a little child who has been taught respect
for the fairy magic and solemn mystery of human repro-
duction will develop modestly, and will feel revulsion when
the subject is mentioned with a frivolous disrespect or made
a topic of coarse jesting. A sensibly instructed boy or girl
20 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
will regard motherhood as something too beautiful for
ribaldry. I am convinced that the emotional and aesthetic
aspects of sex love and of the reproductive process are
elevated and refined in the youthful mind educated on
In my youth it was said by many parents that " there are
things a child should not know. " The tendency now, among
an increasing number of earnest-minded guardians of the
young, is to inquire as to what should be told, and how the
knowledge should be conveyed to the childish intelligence.
The new psychology of the child shows, without doubt,
that the withholding of the truth injures the emotional and
intellectual relationship between parents and their children.
One well-meaning lie repeated by the father or mother may
destroy for ever the confidence of the child. A severe
reproof in response to a childish question or speculation
upon reproductive enigmas acts as an excitant to further
curiosity and speculation. Parents are wont to imagine
that the hushed voice or the admonition to silence checks
the inquisitive tendency. No doubt such tactics check
the child from further attempts to learn from the parent
or teacher. But instead of diminishing the curiosity, the
evasive answer or the palpable untruth stimulates a
deeper craving for enlightenment. This is an inevitable
Parents must ask themselves if they are not positively
culpable when they refuse sane guidance in sex for their
children. It is a mistaken sentiment of affection that
prompts the mother to silence austerely the first vague
questionings of her son or daughter. True love for a child
is exhibited by a solicitude for protection. Ignorance is
not protective. It is a fearful menace. The sexual life is
exposed to manifold perils from childhood to the senile
stage. For many it is a stormy sea, beset with reefs and
shoals, and for all the passage is opposed by difficulties in
steering a safe course.
Among the advocates of sex knowledge for the young are
some who doubt whether the parent is the best teacher,
except in the tender years of the child. It need scarcely be
insisted that the mother, the first of all teachers, should be
the natural initiator of young children. The first and natural
source of this knowledge seems to be the maternal. That
the average mother is rarely well equipped in every respect
for this important task is one of the primary defects of our
Conscientious fathers and mothers frequently confess that
they do not feel fully competent to teach their own children
the rudiments of this knowledge. In the case of adolescents,
whose curiosity naturally excels that of the young child,
the questions are more difficult to answer with requisite
candour. A host of parents declare that shyness assails
them when discussing the most intimate aspects of the sex
life with their children. This shyness frequently inhibits
parental guidance. It is an actual problem for many
If the resistance against candour is strong the parent can
hardly be recognised as the most effective instructor of the
child at the age of puberty. This resistance is not necessarily
prudish. It may arise in those who have a sincere wish that
their children shall be properly instructed. For personal
and intimate reasons there is often a relative reserve in
speech upon certain phases of sex. The final, but highly
pertinent, question of the child is concerning the part
enacted by the father in generation. And it is precisely
this query that is disregarded or shirked.
A schoolmistress of an elementary school at Chesterfield,
realising the urgency of scientific sex teaching, began to
impart a knowledge of physiology to her pupils. Un-
fortunately there was opposition from the parents of the
children, and the humane and disinterested efforts of a
hard-worked teacher were hindered by an ill-founded
hostility to physiology.
As one of the advocates of scientific sex teaching points
out, we have still to reckon with the forces of ignorance and
coarse-mindedness. 1 The education of parents must be
1 See Sex in Relation to Society, by Havelock Ellis.
22 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
undertaken in very many instances before we can begin to
educate the children. Propaganda by means of lectures
and literature, designed for defectively educated parents,
would serve a good purpose in preparing the way for sex
guidance in the home and the school. We must recognise
that very many fathers and mothers have faith in the efficacy
of complete silence, or of " leaving such matters to nature."
They must be taught that the method of concealment is
disastrous, and even " culpable," as Metchnikoff states ;
and that abandoning the moral direction of the erotic
impulse to " nature " is hardly practicable at the present
stage of human evolution.
The instinct of animals can never supply adequate
guidance for human beings in the control, rightful use and
sublimation of the passion of love. Sexual love in man
and woman cannot be compared rationally with the rutting
impulse in the animals. Love is always more or less massive
and pervasive in the consciousness of civilised mankind,
and is, in fact, the very mainspring of man's energy and
numerous mental activities.
A complete reform of the intellectual attitude towards
the sex question must precede any widespread understand-
ing of the need for tuition. The gravity of the problems of
the sex life from infancy to old age must be made evident
to those who look indifferently upon the subject of sex
education. An immense responsibility rests upon the
clergy of the Church and the ministers of Nonconformity.
So long as they neglect to speak earnestly in recommenda-
tion of educational guidance in sex development, they must
fail in the fulfilment of a trust as moral guides and reformers
in this most vital of all human affairs.
Hitherto the only training of the young in matters of sex
in England has been purely religious. For the greater part,
the religious exhortation has consisted of severe denuncia-
tion of fleshly lusts, fornication and marital infidelity.
This negative teaching needs to be supplemented by positive
instruction. The highest moral or religious idealism is
compatible with the deepest scientific apprehension. I am
impressed by the earnest moral and spiritual attitude to
questions of sex shown in the writings of the leading sexual
psychologists of all nationalities. These eager students of
DIFFICULT! 1 23
human life reveal a devotion for humanity which is often
quite secondary in the volumes of tlioologically orthodox
writer?. " Our scientific spirit is devout," said Pro:
William James. The ardent quest for truth is, in the
widest sense, religious, or a seeking for the good.
The necessity for the moral-emotional appeal cannot be
urged too vigorously. Sex is not a study of dry bones, but
a live and intensely emotional subject. Spiritualised love
is a matter of faith, deep feeling, refined sentiment, idealism,
poetry, aesthetics and romance. The scientific analysis of
the deepest emotion of the heart e.g. love inspires wonder
and reverence, and combats materialistic conceptions and
vulgar disesteem for sex. This knowledge, by enlarging
our view of human nature, brings understanding and
sympathy. It assists in forming true moral judgments.
It explains some of the profoundest mysteries of human
behaviour. The quest of truth by the aid of science may
necessitate a stripping of the disguises that hide the real
man or woman, and this process may sometimes reveal the
ugly and the repellent. But in baring the soul how often
may w r e find beauty, nobility and virtue as a contrast to the
evil or morbid characteristics.
No earnest student can afford to shirk the realities of life
if he would learn the highest and the lowest that is possible
to humanity. There must be unflinching vision on the
part of those who would teach. And this may require a
knowledge of the darker side of the sexual problem. But
the brighter side, as one investigator insists, 1 is the side that
should be vividly presented to the mind of youth. The
splendour and the beauty of the love of the sexes must
be revealed to the young through the intelligence and the
To minds unassailed by prudery or salacity the sexual
passion conveys most that is finely spiritual, inspiring and
sacred in life. With the child one cannot begin too early
the duty of imparting respect for the body and its mar-
vellous mechanism, as a preparation for later instruction in
nature's racial purpose and the meaning of sex love in the
mighty scheme of living creatures, with Man as the highest
manifestation of brain development.
1 W. F. Robie, M.D., Rational Sex Ethics.
A HISTORICAL SURVEY
THE primitive form of sex education of the young will be
found in the initiation rites of puberty practised among
ancient and modern barbaric and semi-civilised peoples.
These practices have been, and are still, very widespread
throughout the world. The savage mind, probably univers-
ally, fears the sexual instinct and looks upon the union of
the sexes as dangerous. Anthropology and folk-lore abound
with instances of this dread, and numerous travellers and
explorers have described the curious ceremonials connected
with the attainment of the pubescent age in both sexes.
The initiation customs are a training for manhood and
womanhood. They stimulate physical courage and endur-
ance, and inspire the mind with awe for the mighty
reproductive force. This education is usually undertaken
by the older members of the tribe, who seclude the young
disciples in remote parts of the country, often for weeks or
Most of this primitive teaching involves submission to
painful ordeals as a part of the discipline of the future life.
The training of the boy or girl is laborious and ascetic. In
some tribes of Australia circumcision is practised on the
males and an operation is performed on the female
generative organs. These operations must be suffered with-
out an expression of pain or the pupil is disgraced. Similar
inculcation of fortitude and restraint characterises the
initiatory pubertal ceremonies of some African races. The
Indians of California sequestrate girls of the age of puberty
in a pit, attended by aged women, who by symbolic means
explain the process of reproduction. At the end of four
days of instruction the girls are decorated, and corn is
thrown over them.
A HISTORICAL SUR1 25
Wherever we search amo I we shall
that instruction in the duties of marriage and parentage
are considered highly essential for the welfare of the in-
dividual and the community. As most primitive people
marry soon after attaining puberty, early enlightenment is
necessary. It is a strange fact that the uncultured mind
ned ages ago that a preparation for conjugality is an
imperative matter, whereas the cultured minds of to-day
often assume that such education is unessential. No one
except Stephen Paget has, I believe, made a practical pro-
posal of ceremonial at the arrival of the adolescent period. 1
But a modified form of the primitive rituals, adapted to
the present age, might be made highly impressive to the
young. Such a rite could be surrounded with appropriate
solemnity, and employed as a kind of confirmation of a
reverential attitude towards manhood and womanhood
and their racial responsibilities. On the other hand, some
teachers are of the opinion that all teaching should be un-
obtrusive and not definite or specialised.
It must not be inferred that savages are lacking in
modesty. On the contrary, the primitive sense of sexual
delicacy is very frequently acute. And, from the evidence
of anthropology, it is well established that barbaric people
associate reproduction with the holy. The sex initiation of
the young among primitive folk is undoubtedly associated
with religious belief and social ethics. These rites are of
an extremely solemn character.
The ancient Oriental races were especially deferential
towards the sexual impulse. In the old theologies of India
full regard is given to questions of marriage, conjugal hygiene
and the art of love. The chief religious symbols denote
generative power. Phallic worship, which was one of the
most ancient of all religions, was a cult in honour of repro-
duction and fertility, and its signs still survive in all parts
of the world. In India phallicism is traceable in many
rituals and pious observances, and its symbolic images are
preserved as sacred.
Vishnu, Manu, and Vatsyayana give counsels for the
regulation of the sexual life and conjugal conduct. The
Kama Sutra is a grave erotic manual for the use of the devout,
1 See Adolescence.
26 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
though its sex morality is not always that of the Western
nations. To Kama was given the charge of mortal love by
Hindu womanhood is divinely represented by the goddess
Uma and the female deity of a vast number of Indian
people is Shakti or Sakti. Manu asserts that " the mother
exceedeth a thousand fathers in the right to reverence, and
in the function of teacher." Woman in her noblest guise
is personified in Sakti, which word signifies power and
energy. There is no shame for the procreative office in
the Hindu religion. Sir William Jones states that the
cultured Hindu cannot understand how that which is
natural can be offensively obscene, and that the frankness
of the classic works is no proof of depraved morals. The
most rigorous restraints upon desire are as much a part of
the creed of devout Hindus as the rightful gratifications.
This honest acceptation of the vital impulse of love has
no doubt a share among the factors which, according to
Mrs F. A. Steel, makes the morality of India " far higher "
than that of England. A native writer on Hindu Love
has said that the sacredness of the relation of husband and
wife in India " is invested with a heavenly grandeur which
passes all description."
In Burma the passing of girls from childhood to early
womanhood is a festival. The girl is attired in her finest
robe, earrings are placed in her ears as a mark of the age of
marriage, and guests offer congratulations. The Burmese
boy is impressed with the importance of attaining puberty
by a ritual of tattooing the legs. Married happiness is the
rule in Burma, and sex equality is established. There is
reason for believing that the esteem for love and the
absence of all prudish reactions against questions of sex
are amonz the chief factors of the morality and social well-
being of the Burmese people.
The ancient Hebrews, under the rule of Moses, observed
a very strict sexual hygiene, and the code contains explicit
directions, which are of the nature of education in the
vita sexualis. In the faith of Islam the sex relationship
is controlled by severe regulations, and Mahomet framed
precise rules for conjugal behaviour and pre-marital
A HISTORICAL SURVEY 27
The Catholic Church has always recognised the import-
ance of the Sex Question. The theological contributions
to this subject are very numerous, and many of them are
written with the utmost candour. In receiving confessions
the priest is bound to encounter irregularities of the sexual
life committed by penitents, and it is apparent that the
clergy were, at an early age in the history of Catholicism,
equipped with a knowledge of the sex instinct in most of
its manifestations and aberrations.
This is proved conclusively by the existence of a great
classic library of volumes and treatises upon the main
phases of sexuality. Upon authoritative scientific judg-
ment, the Roman Catholic Church " has always displayed
greater openness and less hypocrisy than, for example,
the Protestant pietists." 1 There are, however, exceptions
to the reticent attitude of Protestant teachers, notably
that of Martin Luther, who openly discussed matters of
Catholic divines and savants have undoubtedly provided
an extensive literature treating upon problems of sex.
There are very few of the abnormalities and perversions
known to psychopathologists which are not discussed in
the works of Catholic authors. The Golden Key of Antonio
Claret, Archbishop of Caba, and Matrimony, a standard
volume by T. Sanchez, are representative works. These
writings are to be classed, for the greater number, as efforts
towards the enlightenment of mankind in the nature,
force and widespread influence of the emotion of sex love.
If Catholicism imperilled the sane mental, emotional
and ethical attitude to love and the intercourse of the sexes
by extolling the celibate life, casting suspicion on marriage
and aspersing woman as a source of corruption and danger,
it cannot be denied that, on the other hand, many of the
1 Iwan Bloch. M.D. ( 7 he Sexual Life of our Time), enumerates
various accredited writings of the fathers and clerics of the Church.
Among these are Augustine, Bouvier, Capellmann, Dens, (iury,
Liguori, Molinos, Pereira, Kousselot, Sanchez, Soto, Suarez, Aquinas,
Wigandt and Zeuardi.
28 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
great teachers of the Church refused to darken the sex
question. There was a perfectly clear recognition of the
enormous influence of the erotic energy in human life, and
a fervid endeavour to cope with the evils and morbidities
arising from this force. Moreover, the ethical and hygienic
counsels for the celibate and the wedded were frequently
sound and practical. We must therefore set this humani-
tarian ardour against the fanatical injunctions of complete
asceticism, which, as sacerdotal records prove, usually de-
feated the ends of morality and purity. At all events, the
Catholic Church sanctioned and encouraged enlightenment
in this department of knowledge.
Martin Luther plainly perceived the importance of
direction in sexual conduct, and his vehement antipathy
to the teaching of celibacy inspired him with zeal in attack-
ing the ascetic doctrine of the Catholic creed. That Luther
was a man of powerful vitality and strong passions is
evident from his own writings. "He to whom the gift of
continence is not given," he writes, " will not become chaste
by fasting and vigils." The Protestant reformer's hetero-
doxy in conjugal ethics is evinced in his suggestion that
women united to impotent husbands should be permitted
to take another partner, in cases where there was no desire
for divorce. He emphasised the fact that virility will
always seek natural gratification, and recognised it as the
chief sign of manhood.
Nevertheless, Luther was not free from the ascription
of some of the eminent Fathers to sin as the source of the
sex instinct. He was inclined to think that it would be
better for humanity if all men were moulded from earth.
It is obvious that any association of the love impulse with
" original sin " is prejudicial to sound teaching in sexual
matters. Notwithstanding, we must accord to Luther re-
spect for his outspokenness upon the marital relation and
his courage in combating prejudices that he had outgrown.
Swedenborg may be taken as an example of a sectarian
leader who recognised the need for sex enlightenment.
To his followers he addressed a ponderous volume upon
Conjugial Love characterised by much common-sense in
portions, but containing statements that will not stand
A HISTORICAL SURVEY 29
For centuries throughout Christendom there was no effort
to diffuse education in sexual physiology and hygiene
among the mass of the people. After the Reformation,
and especially in the days of Puritanism, there were many
published exhortations to chastity and violent denuncia-
tions of sensuality, sexual irregularity and adultery. The
Mosaic Code was revised in all its austerity. Sex became
a forbidden topic. In England and Scotland innocent
love was commonly regarded as a species of wantonness.
Scottish theological writers of the seventeenth and eigh-
teenth centuries vie with one another in solemn warnings
against the lure of the erotic impulse. Fanaticism went to
the length of forbidding music at weddings and denounc-
ing parents who kissed their children on the Sabbath.
Under this harsh and unnatural system of repression every
kind of sex vice and perversion flourished.
For a long period in our country the only attempt at
guidance in a virtuous and healthy sex life was a practical
condemnation of the instinct that attracts and unites the
sexes and continues the race. Bad sanitation and personal
uncleanness accompanied a diseased mental view of the
relations of the sexes. Love brought joy and pleasure ;
therefore to the misguided zealot of perpetual abnegation
of all enjoyment love was a danger and a source of sin.
A poisonous prudery was the companion of gross lust and
Syphilis began to ravage Europe with its deadly poison.
The brothels were numerous in the cities of Europe.
Attempts at repression brought a reaction of libertinism,
and the first efforts of legal regulation of prostitution were
instituted in England. The spread of venereal diseases
began to foster physical degeneration in the race.
There is no discoverable trace of any endeavour to combat
the licence, vice and diseases of those days by means of
sexual education. The grosser kinds of indecent literature
were in circulation, but no scientific volumes were issued.
Physiology was neglected and the knowledge of medical men
was very limited. The preachers denounced immorality.
30 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
But no one showed the way to a rational, moral and
healthy sexual life.
A volume which may be classed among the works
essaying to control sex conduct was published in Latin
in 1760, and afterwards translated into most European
languages. It was the composition of a Swiss doctor
named Tissot. I refer to this treatise because it was highly
esteemed and widely distributed at a time when such
writings had become scarce. This book was the celebrated
Treatise on Onanism : A Dissertation upon the Maladies
produced by Masturbation.
The work of Tissot is of historical interest, inasmuch as it
deeply influenced contemporary medical minds and gave
birth to strong traditional opinions that survive to this
day. Tissot, in the role of a reformer of sex morals and
an enlightener of youth, was unwittingly the benefactor of
countless quacks throughout the civilised nations. The
consideration of the difficult but profoundly important
question of auto-erotism (masturbation, onanism, self-
abuse) is one of the primary necessities of the parent and
teacher who would lead the young rightly. But the
teachers must gain their instruction from the highest
sources of modern research.
Tissot was the pioneer of the immense host of " scare
writers," both well-intentioned and unscrupulous, who have
played a great part in shaping the thought of youth in
questions of sex. He raised " a colossal bogy," * which
other physicians of larger knowledge and experience have
dethroned. Iwan Bloch accepts Tissot as " the true founder
of the scientific literature " on this theme, but entirely
disagrees with his flagrant exaggerations and uncompro-
mising pessimism. There is no doubt that this Swiss
physician and his huge army of followers, consisting of
some medical and numerous lay writers and preachers,
have caused very many cases of sexual neurasthenia, hypo-
chondriasis, mental depression, anxiety neurosis and even
1 See vol. i., Studies in the Psychology of Sex. Havelock Ellis.
A HISTORICAL SURVEY 31
Undoubtedly some of the apparently inexplicable
suicides of children and adolescents are the result of the
terror, remorse and despair induced by reading alarming
descriptions of a whole host ot major and minor maladies
attributed to masturbatory habits. In The Psychology
of Marriage I have referred to the injurious influence of
terrifying quack pamphlets upon the mind and nervous
system of young people and of many adults.
Tissot's almost epoch-making treatise was succeeded
by other writings of a similar type, in which all the ills
and the diseases of mankind were traced to auto-erotism.
Lallemand, in 1836, wrote a medical work on this topic
which repeated some of the errors of his predecessor.
Since then the majority of the authors appealing to a large
public have unreservedly accepted Tissot and Lallemand
and their school as models. Often these writers have
frightened their readers with their well-meaning moral
enthusiasm. Unfortunately the terroristic method has
been proved by the experience of balanced scientific minds
and thoughtful moralists not only ineffectual but a stimulus
to excesses. The psychic injury inflicted by this means is
incalculable. Victims who have been told that they will
become lunatics have actually lost their reason through
dread alone. Dr Savage and other authorities mention
suicide as a result.
The historical survey of sex education shows enormous
gaps in the issue of writings designed as offering guidance
to adults. And it is only within the past fifty years that
a demand has arisen for the enlightenment of children and
The movement must be regarded as in its infancy in
England. In America and Canada there has been con-
siderable advance during the past twenty-five years.
Bosnia, among European nations, has lately set an
admirable example to the civilised world by the inception
of State instruction in sexual questions. The reform was
initiated as a check upon the tremendous spread of venereal
diseases. In a short time the results have proved almost
marvellous. The reduction in the cases of disease are most
DURING a long period in England and America a voice was
heard now and again in the wilderness. James Hinton,
a cultured physician, wrote earnestly upon sexual ethics
and hygiene in the Mid- Victorian period ; but his works
are rarely read, except perhaps the well-known Mystery
of Pain. Hinton asserted that " science has in its hands
the key to purity." a statement that is now coming within
the probability of acceptance by all honest minds. Have-
lock Ellis frequently quotes Hinton with admiration.
He states that one of this author's contributions to the
discussion of sex is still in manuscript.
J. Milner Fothergill, about thirty years ago, strongly
advocated sex teaching in his volume on Adolescence. The
exclusion of any reference to the reproductive system in
Professor Huxley's Physiology shows that in his view the
time was not yet for enlightening the young in matters of
sex. Twenty years ago there was scarcely any available
volume sufficiently plain for the comprehension of an
average young man or woman who wished to understand
human reproduction. There were medical manuals and
ponderous technical works in abundance, but nothing of the
character of Miss Norah March's Towards Racial Health, or
Dr Herbert's Introduction to the Physiology and Psychology
of Sex. Many conscientious parents sought in vain for
helpful information for their children. Such information
was very scarce.
The Elements of Social Science, a volume attributed to a
well-known physician and chief of a London hospital, had
a very large sale, and was translated into several languages
some years ago. This was an earnestly written book on
several phases of the Sex Question. The writings of Dr
MODERN DEVELOPS K>: 33
Acton, Dr Trail, Dr Foote and several other medical authors
upon srxual physiology and reproduction are still oo
ally seen in booksellers' windows in England and An
Foote's volume was of a partly scientific character,
works made no appeal to the young.
The description sexual psychology was probably never
used fifty years ago. In recent years Professor Karl
Pearson, in one of his essays, has referred to the import-
ance of the study of " sexualogy " as a very important part
of sociology. The leading pioneer of this new branch of
scientific research in England is undoubtedly Havelock
Ellis, who has made the study the chief part of his
life's labour. To him we owe great advance in our
knowledge. With painstaking industry and scientific
thoroughness Ellis has collected a vast mass of highly
useful data for social reformers, legislators, physicians
The introduction of sex instruction in pedagogics has
only just begun in England. Canon Lyttelton, when head-
master of Eton College, realised the necessity for the sexual
education of the young. The headmaster of Bedales
School, a co-education institution, has set an example in
this direction. It is, however, difficult to find many
instances of the initiation of class teaching on this subject
in the United Kingdom.
In my early manhood I attended a lecture in a pro-
vincial town hall given by a then popular travelling
evangelist. This preacher was supported by some of the
leading ministers of the town, and the hall was filled with
a large audience of " men only." The method of this
missionary cannot be commended. His plea for purity
was marred by an ignorance in physiological statement,
and his illustrations, designed to terrify evil-doers, were
extravagant and so alarming that one of his hearers
was carried out in a fainting fit. I cannot believe
that there is any true inspiration to virtue in a vehement
denunciatory address lasting for over an hour. No help-
ful practical counsel was offered to the young men
34 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
Pleas for instruction in sex physiology and hygiene are
more numerous in the United States and Canada than in
Great Britain. In the United States there are several
influential propaganda associations, notably the American
Society of Sanitary and Moral Prophylaxis, which is largely
the result of a vigorous advocacy undertaken by Dr Prince
Morrow, a high-minded reformer and scientific investigator.
The Chicago Society of Social Hygiene dates from 1906.
The Vice-Commission of that city, held in 1910, published
an earnest appeal for the enlightenment of the young in
their Report of 399 pages.
In the States there has been considerable private
and individual effort towards education in this urgent
matter. Dr Helen C. Putnam has made practical proposals. 1
Principal Stanley Hall, of Clark University, is a whole-
hearted pleader for sex knowledge, and has contributed
much valuable literary material to the subject. In the
various schools and colleges with which Professor Hall has
been connected he has felt it his duty to speak plainly
to young men students. Literary instruction in America
is represented by a long list of books and pamphlets. A
practical volume has been written on Sex Education by
a well-known American biologist and teacher, Professor
In Canada the Government provides suitable sex teaching
in all the State schools in Ontario. Boys and girls after
the age of ten receive enlightenment in physiology and
are taught respect for the sexual function. Sir Thomas
Barlow, the well-known English physician, has approved
of the system of instruction in the western states of
Canada, and says that it "has been done without any
offence whatever." 2
Ellis writes that in the Italian Normal Schools the
subjects of sex and reproduction are looked upon as
a necessary educative process. Michels refers to the
1 See " Biologists in Public Schools " in New York Journal of
Med., Nov., 1906.
2 See Report of Royal Commission on Venereal Diseases, 1913-1914.
MODERN DEVELOPMENTS 35
advance in this form of education in Italy, 1 and gives an
account of a representative conference of men of >>cience,
and clerics and pedagogues convened for the discussion of
the Sex Question.
I n France, where education is not mainly a means of be-
coming a successful money-maker, proportionate regard is
paid to the spiritual things of life in the school curriculum.
The moral influence in the French schools has been described
with fervent appreciation by Principal Stanley Hall. Due
attention is being directed to sex education in France, and
much credit is to be accorded to the earnestly scientific
humanist and physician Pinard for his eloquent appeal for
this amelioration of the educational code. 2
In Bohemia Dr Stanislav Ruyicka has given lectures on
sex physiology and hygiene to school children up to the age
of fourteen. The teachers in the large towns generally
approve of this means of public education. German
reforms in sex education have progressed considerably in
the past twenty-five years, and the same advance has been
made in Austria.
Dr Eduard Ceresole, Lausanne, Switzerland, is of the
opinion that "It is more necessary to the child's moral
and physical welfare that he should be instructed on sexual
questions than to be taught any other of the actual school
curriculum. . . . To the people who taboo all sexual
subjects as immoral I will answer that a scientific fact
or truth is never immoral, but that the hypocrisy and
concealment now prevailing with regard to such matters
are decidedly so."
In a reform so young as that of educational guidance
in sex development there cannot be much to relate in the
way of results, at anyrate in Great Britain and Ireland.
There is unquestionably a movement towards scientific
inquiry in sex psychology among the thoughtful classes.
But we are as yet in the initial stage of sexual pedagogy and
the training of the young in the laws of a healthy sex life.
1 Sexual Ethics.
2 Dr Lucien Butte, an eminent medical inspector of schools in
France, speaking at the English meeting of the Internation
gress on School Hygiene, advocated the tcai-iiiiig of sexual hygiene
as quite as important as any of the laws of health.
PART II. SCIENTIFIC TEACHING
PREPARATION FOR TEACHING
THE qualifications of the instructors in sex education
require cautious consideration. Resistance to inquiry in
this branch of knowledge is so strongly developed in some
men and women that it constitutes a positive disqualifica-
tion. Unless the teacher can feel zealous for his subject,
and take a sincere and scientific interest in it, he is not fitted
for this important task. Before we can institute this
much-needed reform in pedagogics, we must convince a
far larger number of teachers of both sexes than exists at
present of the great necessity for the reform. There are
still not wholly unintelligent persons who believe that a
shirking of this matter makes for morality. They fear
sex knowledge in any form as a menace to the natural
modesty of youth.
Any prejudice or repressed sex complex debars from the
work of instruction. There must be the conviction that
sex is inherently a clean topic, and the ability to distinguish
between mere idle curiosity or the prurient habit of mind
and a genuine bias for knowledge in the service of the
higher needs of humanity. The teacher requires a spiritual
perception of the massive power of love as well as an
appreciation for the scientific method. He or she should be
something of the artist or poet in addition to a physiologist
and psychologist. If the trainer of the young in the rules
of a healthy and moral sex life cannot make the requisite
emotional appeal to young people, he or she can never
become an ideal preceptor. For although the teaching
must in some cases be entirely dispassionate and objective,
PREPARATION FOR TEACHING 37
there are occasions when personal sympathy, arising from
insight and a knowledge of the human heart, is very essential.
It is obvious, therefore, that efficiency in instructing
the young depends principally upon the teacher's zeal for
the subject. Without enthusiasm and earnestness the
instructor will fail to impress the pupils with the high
importance of the study, or to assure their interest, apper-
ception and attention. At present there are not many
educationists fully equipped with the essential ardour,
psychological understanding of the juvenile mind, and
knowledge of embryology and physiology. There are no
professors of sex psychology in the universities, and the
teacher must prepare himself or herself by private study
As a preliminary it would be well if the instructor placed
himself in the hands of an expert psychoanalyst. In all
of us there exist opposing psychic elements, an accumula-
tion of the detritus of barbaric ages, a resistance to the
subject and a sense of timidity in approaching it. This
fear is one of the strongest proofs that the topic is of unusual
importance. If the first impression tells us that a subject
is unnecessary or dangerous, we should ask ourselves why
we have this opinion. Reason and reflection may inform
us that there can be no progress in man's moral and mental
development if investigations are shirked on the plea that
they are unpleasant, irksome or attended with certain
risks. Is it not true that it is frequently those rnatters
that arouse resistance in the mind which are of the very
deepest moment ?
Psychoanalysis explains the origin and the meaning of
the inner censor who whispers that we had better avoid
this or that inquiry. It reveals the dominance of the sub-
conscious, enlightens us concerning our deep-seated pre-
judices, dreads and intellectual cowardice, and clears and
invigorates the conscious mind. The new researches in
psychology have let in a stream of light upon the mysteries
of mental disease, the bewildering problems of sex, the
significance of myth and legend, the association of art and
life, the subject of education, the development of the mind
of the child and the social customs of mankind.
The theories of Freud demand the careful attention of
38 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
teachers. I can only outline very briefly the chief principle
of the newest psychology. The theory is based on the
tendency of primal desire and volition to come into con-
flict with the moral sense and the ethical ideas of civilised
society. This struggle for the modern man or woman,
and perhaps especially for woman, is more or less con-
tinuous and subjects us all to severe repressions. A re-
pressed wish or tendency is not banished. It remains
alive, though apparently controlled, and works in the mind
in a mysterious secret way. The wish or impulsion, being
opposed to our moral or social conceptions, has to be
censored or held in firm check. This conflict may become
a " complex " in the subconscious self, causing mental
perplexity, depression or various forms of minor neurosis.
In dreams the unfulfilled wish manifests itself symbolic-
ally. The vision is symbolic, because the wish is some-
thing that the subject refuses to confront directly. Dreams
give us glimpses of what we really crave. They afford
startling instances of our real and deepest tendencies to the
psychoanalyst trained in their interpretation. A dream
may be described as a revelation to the consciousness of a
drama played in the subconscious mind, or the working of
a powerful desire that the dreamer has tried to expel from
Psychoanalysts cautiously dissect and examine dreams
for a clue to repressed tendencies. They also make use
of the " association method," in which a selected list of
words is repeated to the subject, who replies as quickly as
he can with a single-word image called up by the test word.
If the response is slow to a particular word, that word
possesses considerable personal psychic significance. For
example, if the person under examination cannot respond
rapidly to the word "father," the delay might be accepted
as pointing to a " father complex." The man who ponders
for some seconds upon the association of " father," and then
says " severe," gives the psychoanalyst an illuminating
reply. But his response may be far less plainly significant,
and it is the task of the analyst to divine the true meaning
of an apparently irrelevant reply.
For the normally minded, psychoanalysis cannot fail to
prove helpful, and it is a mistake to suppose that the method
PREPARATION FOR TEACHING 39
is only useful in the cure of psychopathic symptoms.
Any research that will enable us to understand in the
degree some of the profound and apparently inscrutable
mysteries of the operation of the normal mind is highly
valuable. It is probable that the psychoanalytic method
will be widely employed in the future in the difficult Held
of ethical training. Professor Jung's remarkable work
upon The Psychology of the Unconscious should be studied
by every teacher and sociologist. The psychoanalytic
literature is increasing steadily in England, America and
the Continental countries. 1
" Know thyself " is the injunction of ancient wisdom.
Every thinking human being is a mystery to himself or
herself. We are bewildered by our temptations, surging
impulses, moral defections, frustration of powerful yearn-
ings and vestigial relics of superstition and fantasy. The
psychic conflict impels some to drugs and alcoholic stimu-
lants, and drives others into neurosis, depression of mind,
morbid anxiety and weariness of life. A single shock to
the mind in childhood may give rise to highly complicated
mental and nervous symptoms in after life. The new in-
vestigations into the subconscious mind, the origin of our
perplexities and dreads, and their reaction upon thought
and conduct are clearing away a cloud of primitive mis-
conceptions and hindering delusions.
If the prospective teacher cannot purge himself from
hindering reactions and realise that this is one of the most
urgent of all reforms in education he is certainly unfitted
for a solemn task. On the other hand, if the aspirant feels
keenly, and is impelled to the vocation by moral enthusiasm,
humanism and a devotion to truth, he will find that there
are no insurmountable obstructions in the path of self-
tuition. There is now a wide literature of biology, physi-
ology and sex psychology in Europe and America. This
ranges from the primer to the advanced text-book. The
teacher with the right mental attitude to the subject and
an aptitude for study need not be deterred because he or
she has not undergone a lengthy scientific training.
'See list of books for teachers, Chapter IV., Part III. The
principal English contributors to this study are Ernest Jones,
Maurice Nicol, and in America A. A. Brill and Dr White.
40 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
A thoroughly educated science master might possess
the technical knowledge and yet lack enthusiasm for this
teaching. Undoubtedly the scientific spirit is of prime
importance. But we must avoid the dry-bone method of
instruction as cautiously as we steer clear of undue emotion-
ality. Our teaching should be soundly scientific, with an
admixture of aesthetics and poetry. The moral aspect
of the subject must not become a dreary exhortation, but
hopeful, practically helpful and inspiring.
Knowledge of the reproduction of plants is necessary,
and this may be learned from the standard manuals of
botany. The evolution of sex should be studied from the
unicellulars and the infusoria on to the multicellular
organisms and the sperm and egg producing animals up
to man. The expansion of the psychic influences as we
rise in the evolutionary scale should be especially noted,
and ample illustrations are to be found in the courtship
and mating of birds and quadrupeds. Entomology will
assist in explaining reproductive processes.
The physiology of human reproduction should be care-
fully studied from the standard text-books before the study
of sexual pyschology. Some knowledge of sex pathology
is necessary. Genetics and eugenics should be part of the
preparatory course. Anthropology should be included.
It is true that the full study of any one of these branches
of science is the labour of years or a whole lifetime. The
teacher cannot master all these subjects ; but he can
understand their importance and scope and acquaint
himself with the rudiments and the essential facts for the
instruction of the young.
Whether the instruction is given individually or in
classes, the teacher should formulate a clear scheme.
The following is a short suggested plan of instruction :
Embryology. Explain at the outset how life began with
protoplasm. Show an egg as an illustration of a cell, and
point out the great diversity in size of cells from the minutely
microscopic to the fowl's egg. Explain the process of cell
division, fission and budding, and pass on to reproduction
PREPARATION FOR TEACHIN 41
by the sexual method, the union of the sperm and the
ovum. This may be explained to young children by
the examination of anthers, pistils and stamens. Cite
the potato as an instance of a continuation of a sexual
generation i.e. by growth from seed or tubers. The
di (Terence between the body or somatic cells and the
germinal cells should be pointed out and their use ex-
plained. Various seeds of plants can be shown as germs.
Eggs of insects, such as the cabbage butterfly or the silk-
worm moth, should be shown. Take a poppy seed and
describe how this minute germ contains the determinants
of size, height, colour and other qualities of the full-grown
plant. Some examples of heredity may be given in plants,
insects, animals and man showing the wonders of the germ
Nature Study. Children should be taken for country
rambles and taught how to use the senses of vision and
hearing. Encourage them to observe wayside plants and
to distinguish different kinds of birds. The variation in
the plumage of male and female birds should be indicated.
In springtime nests may be examined. There should be
attention directed to the chivalry and courage of male
birds and their solicitude for the mate and the young.
Lessons of ethical value can be learned by the altruism and
devotion of sentinel birds among the gregarious species,
industry and skill in building the home, and ingenuity
in providing for the fledglings. Numerous instances of
parental care and bravery may be given, and examples of
the affection of mated pairs.
The country-side is a huge open volume of fairy lore
which cannot fail to interest children if the teacher possesses
the right aptitude and knowledge. Natural history study
can be made as fascinating as sport. Birds and animals
can be stalked and watched at work or play. Bloodless
hunting for insects, birds and animals will stimulate interest
in nature, train the faculties, teach perseverance, patience
and concentration, and provide a healthy hobby of great
Children should collect the eggs of butterflies and moths, \
await the emergence of the larv;e, and keep them during the
caterpillar and chrysalis stages until the full-grown insect
42 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
(imago) leaves the pupa case. Differences in secondary
sexual characters of insects, form and colour, may be
observed. The life history of the mayfly and of insects
born from ova dropped into water is an interesting study
for most intelligent children.
Sitting under an oak in autumn, the instructor may
instance the lavishness of nature in providing the seed,
and explain that only a tiny proportion of the scattered
acorns will grow into trees. Explanation may be made
why the seed is so profuse in plants and animals. The
ova of salmon and other fish may be instanced. Children
like object lessons ; therefore many different life germs
should be shown to them from the seeds of common flowers
and vegetables to birds' eggs, frog spawn and the roe of fish.
Ponds are alluring to children, and almost any pool
contains interesting creatures. The humble three-spined
stickleback may be seen building his nest and guarding
the mate and her life germs. In spring the gaudy attiring
of the male fish should be noted. Frog spawn may be
examined and tadpoles watched as they merge into frogs.
The adornment of the male newt in the pairing season, the
hatching out of aquatic insects from the mud, the spawning
of fish and the pairing and nesting of moorhens, coots and
dabchicks are among a few of the manifold object lessons
afforded by a pond.
The farmyard is another field of research. Lessons in
parental devotion may be learned from fowls, cows, pigs
and sheep. The protective instinct of the cock is instanced
in his agitation and solicitude for the hens when a hawk
appears. Devotion is shown by the mother bird in shelter-
ing her brood and denying herself of the choicest morsels
of food. Children should see the chick emerge from the
egg. The keeping of pet animals should be encouraged.
By means of nature study an intelligent teacher can im-
part a knowledge of the immune reproductive energy in all
living things and explain incidentally some of the methods
of generation. Many important introductory lessons in sex
education may be learned in the woods, and on the moors
and hills. This pleasant form of study is more attractive
than any classroom teaching.
Physiology. From puberty onwards it is necessary that
PREPARATION FOR TEACHING 43
tho inquiries of UK' boy or girl should he nuswered frankly.
\Ye must tell our pupils the truth. This requires \
knowledge, insight into character, tact, candour and
sympathy. Physiological tuition need not be purely
anatomical or histological. It can be made even romantic
and poetic without endangering scientific fact.
A clear exposition of reproduction in mankind may be
desired by a naturally curious boy or girl. This may be
given in private talks between the tutor and the pupil.
In the case of serious students of from sixteen to twenty,
it may be possible to give class lectures on sexual
physiology, especially if the students have been gradually
prepared for this course. But at the present stage in the
development of sex teaching many teachers agree that
private instruction is the better method in the majority
At the outset the instructor should stress the intimate
connection of the brain and the sexual system. The
structure of the reproductive organs should be explained,
their rapid development at puberty, their high racial pur-
pose and their hygienic care. The difference in the germ
cells of man and woman should be shown. Several volumes
,on reproduction contain illustrations of the spermatozoon
and the ovum. Young men and women of the nubile age
are likely to ask direct questions concerning the physical
union of the sexes. They may be betrothed and on the
eve of marriage and yet lack much necessary knowledge.
The more pertinent questions can be answered in a
perfectly grave, dispassionate and seemly manner, and it is
safe to state that the honesty and frankness of the teacher
will win the gratitude and respect of the inquirers. The
experienced married adult often fails in apprehension of
the very acute and often terribly perplexing conflicts of the
mind endured by unenlightened or half-enlightened young
men and maidens who are about to marry. This whole-
some demand for physiological and hygienic knowledge
must be gratified by explicit and honest information. So
profound is the prevailing ignorance of sex that it is often
necessary to frame answers in the very simplest language.
Decent-minded youths, who may only know the vulgar
terms for the racial organs, are frequently ashamed to
44 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
speak of them. The Latin words used by educated persons
should be explained by the teacher.
There are now several reliable volumes upon marital
hygiene which may be safely recommended to young men
and women upon entering married life. Some of these are
in the list in another chapter of this book. 1
Sex Psychology. This includes the study of human sex
selection, the evolution of modesty, the relation of the
amative impulse to the main activities of the mind, the
development of sexuality in childhood, and adolescence and
its normal manifestations in the adult life, the origin and
nature of aberrations of instinct, the question of sex educa-
tion, the emotional and mental differences in the sexes,
discussion of the forms of human marriage, inquiry into
the source and the practice of sexual morality, and various
This comprehensive subject cannot be neglected by the
earnest teacher, social reformer, physician, alienist, jurist
and clergyman. It is at the basis of a practical sociology.
It is a fundamental part of the ethics of sex. It is a key
to the study of human nature.
Interest in the psychology of sex is seldom shown by
adolescents. Most of the volumes on the subject are too
scientific in temper and in terminology to appeal to the
average young man. Moreover, they are costly and in
some instances difficult to obtain. For the teacher the
study is indispensable for a comprehensive view of the
interaction of body and mind in the sexual sphere, for an
understanding of development of the sex life and as the
bed-rock of rational sex ethics. Even a little psychological
knowledge may protect both young men and young women
from the perils of life, and assist them in choosing the right
partner and in making marriage harmonious.
Anthropology is a great storehouse of data for the guidance
of teachers in the evolution of human love and sex relation-
ships. All pedagogues should be acquainted with the
works of Frazer, Crawley, Hartland, Reclus, Heape,
Westermarck and Jung. The sex question of to-day
cannot be viewed with adequate knowledge if the study
of man's erotic development from the primitives of the
1 See pages 179 to 184
PREPARATION FOR TEACHING 45
human race up to the civilised human beings of our own
time. Anthropology lets in the light upon tin- origin of
the fear of the sex force, the me;miiu; of surviving taboos,
the part played by symbolism in culture, the socialising
influence of the amatory impulse and the moral problems
Hygiene of Sex. This is of paramount importance.
The care of the reproductive organs and functions involves
both physical and psychic direction. If the reverent,
non-prudish and non-prurient attitude is encouraged from
the earliest years of childhood there will be solicitude for
the preservation of the health of the whole body. Respect
for the body engenders regard for hygiene.
Both sexes should be told the importance of frequent
local ablution, as well as cleansing the whole surface of the
skin. Indolent, ease-loving adolescents should be advised
to find some congenial amusement necessitating free
exercise of the muscles. Compulsory sports or athletics
are not advisable ; but everything should be done to
stimulate a liking for the open air and active exercise.
Diet must be sufficient and plain. Regularity of bowel
function is essential. Special instruction is necessary for
girls on the hygiene of menstruation.
The aim of the parent and teacher should be to substitute
vigorous games, inducing a wholesome excitement, as a
counteracting force to the excitation wont to arise from
mental causes when the body is habitually inactive. Lying
awake in bed after a good night's sleep should be dis-
couraged. Over-fatigue must be avoided ; for nerve and
muscle tiredness, causing restlessness and wakefulness, is
often an exciting factor. Needful discrimination must be
used in recommending fatiguing exertion to the young.
On the other hand, endurance and hardness must be
fostered. The point of importance is not to urge the too
willing child to activity that produces a depressing fatigue.
The feeling of tiredness should not be that of painful
Sexual perversities and bad habits must be checked as
early as possible by therapeutic confidential talks and
appeals to the emotions. It must be repeated once again
that dire threats, violent denunciations and unsympathetic
46 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
reproaches should be avoided. All counsel must be inspired
by sympathy, the cultivation of self-respect, honour for the
generative power, and idealistic views upon the love of
the sexes. Overstatement of mental and physical risks, as
many high authorities assert, may produce the very results
that we wish to combat.
Sexual Ethics. Moral teaching must have a psychological
basis. Facts must be faced boldly. There must be no
pretence that the struggle for chaste living in a powerfully
sexed young man is very simple. The striving may be
likened to a stern athletic contest and moral mettle and
resistance aroused in the youth. It should be insisted
that strength of will is manly, that virility endures if it has
not been abused and that happy married love is the ultimate
reward of a process of training in restraint. Both sexes
should look forward to an early marriage as the right state
of life in maturity. There should be warning against
entering conjugality without deep affection.
Warnings against the dangers of flippancy, vulgarity and
indecency in our view of sexual matters are imperative.
A clear distinction between scientific interest and a shame-
faced, idle curiosity must be explained with great care.
Many persons of reputed education still fail to perceive the
difference between lascivious speculation and wholesome
ethical and psychological inquiry.
Instruction concerning the perils of venereal diseases is
a part of both hygienic and moral enlightenment. This
matter cannot be shirked. Many adolescents fall into
danger through sheer ignorance. Mere vague exhortations
to purity are inadequate. The evil must be shown in all its
bearings upon the individual, the family, the community
and the nation. The warnings must begin at puberty.
We cannot dismiss our responsibility to youth and the
coming generations by pleading that the subject is " unfit
for discussion in polite society," "unsavoury" or
" revolting." The consequences of these diseases are
undoubtedly disastrous and repulsive. For this reason
every means of prevention and cure must be employed, and
the preventive measures must begin with the instilling of
respect for the procreative power, refined ideas upon sex
love and an enlightened social sense.
PREPARATION FOR TEACHING 47
The basis of sexual morality is the recognition of tin*
rights and claims of others and the desire to shun the
infliction of injury to our neighbours. When it is known
that an enormous number of young men fall victims to
one or another of the two pernicious diseases resulting from
prostitution and reckless promiscuous intercourse, it is
criminal neglect to refrain from plain speaking. If venereal
affections can be reduced remarkably in a short time, as
in the case of Bosnia, by the institution of public instruction
upon this social peril, it is obvious that the spreading of
knowledge in other countries is likely to prove equally
efficacious. The tremendous increase of these diseases
during the European War calls for a continued vigorous
The bulk of young men are still disposed to treat
gonorrhoea lightly. Owing to our amazing ignorance of all
matters appertaining to the sexual life and the darkening
of the subject of this racial poisoning, the view persists
that this infection leaves no after-effects and that it can
be cured in a few days. Need we wonder that tens of
thousands of the erring and the innocent surfer through the
consequences of these concealed infections ? It is not
only the vicious who are punished. Chaste wives are
constantly infected by their husbands, little children con-
tract the diseases, and infants are exposed to this terrible
Young men should be told that neglected gonorrhoea often
produces permanent injury, such as the blood-poisoning
known as septicaemia, inflammation of the bladder,
kidney affections, disease of the prostate and the urethra,
and some of the worst forms of arthritic or joint rheuma-
tism. Dr Kidd ascribes many cases of chronic joint
inflammation, incapacitating the victims from work, to
gonorrhceal infection in early life. The results upon women
are even more appalling. Many physicians attribute fifty
cases of sterility out of a hundred to this cause. The
poison often penetrates to the ovaries and sets up serious
conditions. Sepsis is apt to occur after child-birth. Some
cases of abortion are due to this ravaging ailment. Iritis
may affect the eyes, and blindness in the newly born
is a common result. This specific ophthalmia is highly
48 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
infectious, and often attacks persons living regular lives.
Much uterine trouble is attributed to gonorrhoea.
The immediate symptoms of syphilis and the devastat-
ing effects of its sequelae should be explained to both sexes
at puberty. As many are poisoned soon after puberty,
and some before, the need for timely monition is manifest.
Syphilitic poisons are liable to assail any part of the body
long after the disappearance of the primary symptoms.
The spirochoetes (germs) find their way into the vital organs
and sometimes reach the heart and cause angina pectoris.
They penetrate the brain and the nerves, producing
meningitis, paralysis of one side of the body or of the legs.
General paralysis of the insane is another manifestation
of syphilitic disease. Locomotor ataxy is one serious
sequel. Dementia may be caused. Blindness is far from
Syphilis is heritable, and the offspring are often attacked
by convulsions, inflammation of the mucous membranes,
wasting of the tissues, bad growth of the teeth, deafness
and mental defectiveness and idiocy. Premature births
and still-births are a common consequence.
It is apparent that ethical admonition to purity should be
supported by clear statement of the physical and mental
tragedies arising from venereal contagion. The dangers
can be indicated without terrifying the young man into the
belief that it is impossible to escape them whether one is
chaste or unchaste, and inducing the morbid dread known
as syphiliphobia. It should, however, be pointed out that
the risks for the loose-living are extremely high, and that
one hour of dissipation may be the source of suffering and
sorrow for a lifetime. There may well be stress on the
sordidness of mercenary intercourse of the sexes, the social
injustice involved by committing women to a life of
disgrace, the coarsening and brutalising effect of prostitu-
tion, the perils to the race and the serious risk of loss of
virility and a capacity for happy married love.
INSTRUCTION OF YOUNG CHILDREN
THE appropriate opportunity for beginning to teach the
child the rudiments of reproduction usually occurs in the
first stages of childhood. Wonder often arises in the mind
of a boy or girl at the birth of a brother or sister, or at the
breeding of domestic animals and household pets. Questions
are addressed to the parents as to the origin of life. Whence
comes the infant? How does the mother know that a
new child will be born ? These are interrogations that
occupy the mind of every intelligent child. Even when
there is no direct questioning, the parent may still assure
himself or herself that the child is speculative and curious.
Frank-natured children who have not been repressed
unduly are sure to ask direct questions. This frankness
must be met with parental candour, sympathy and tact.
Prompt and kindly response to the inquiries is essential
from the outset. A loving talk must precede all formal
scientific education, and the impression made by this
candid conversation prepares the way for later and fuller
instruction in the school or lecture-room.
It is obvious that the child who questions the mother
has a natural confidence. Every means should be observed
to cherish this good faith and not to divert it nor to impair
it in any way. The mere statement that God " sends "
babies, or that storks bring them to the parents, does not
satisfy the average child. Most children show a capacity
for rational thinking, and even the infantile mind is
sometimes astonishingly logical.
Let it, then, be taken for granted that the mother desires
to impart the necessary knowledge to her child as early
as possible in mental growth. This period may be ten
years before the coming of the pubertal development
50 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
The child of three or four may make inquiry in a perfectly
natural manner. Although there must be certain differ-
ences in the method of instructing boys and girls of the age
of fourteen, younger children may be taught on a similar
plan. It is never advisable to accentuate too strongly the
sexual differentiations in childhood. What is fitting for
the boy to know should be also fitting for the girl in the
graduated lessons of sex physiology.
The examples of sex instruction that follow may, of
course, be modified, amplified or revised at the discretion
of the teacher, and in regard to the age, intelligence and
idiosyncrasy of the pupil. The language should be simple
and homely. The poetic and symbolic can be blended with
practical enlightenment, and the whole subject rendered
interesting as well as serious. In words such as these the
mother may reply to her young child's first questionings :
LESSON I. COMING TO LIFE
You were very surprised this morning when you found
that pussy had four beautiful little kittens cuddling up
to her, and you have asked me where the kittens came from.
It seems very wonderful that yesterday there were no
kitties, and to-day there are four of them, all alive and
hungry. But the kittens were growing for a long time,
safe and warm in the body of their mother. It needed
many weeks for them to get ready to come into the world
as soft, warm, furry kittens. You see that their eyes are
still closed, and that they are weak on their legs, and not
able yet to romp about, as they will do in a few weeks'
time. When you were born you could not see at all
clearly for some days, and if I had made a sudden loud
noise you would not have heard it.
In a few days the kittens will see, and they will begin to
know you by sight. And now I will tell you how the
kittens grew in the body of their mother, because I want
you to learn what a wonderful thing life is, and how all the
INSTRUCTION OF YOUNG CHILDREN 51
birds and the animals and men and women are born.
Thf kittens grew from tiny seeds or eggs in the body of
their mother. You know that if I take a pea and put it
under the ground in the garden that the warm earth will
make it grow. In a few weeks a little sprout shows above
the soil, and soon it becomes a tiny leaf, and goes on grow-
ing till it climbs up a tall stick. If you like to put some
seeds of cress on a piece of wet flannel you will be giving
life to a plant. This is very wonderful and you can try
it for yourself.
The seed from which the kittens come is very tiny indeed.
But it grows and grows and is fed by the mother's blood.
You know that puss has been hungrier lately. That was
because much of the food that she ate had to feed the kittens
that were growing within her. Now perhaps you under-
stand that all living things come from seed or eggs, just like
trees and plants grow from seed sown in the earth.
In old days men used to call the earth " the Great
Mother " and " Mother Earth," because the earth is the
mother of the huge oak-trees that spring from acorns and
of the lovely flowers of the garden. And the plants and
the vegetables that grow on the earth are the food of many
animals, such as elephants, camels, cows and sheep.
When the kittens were big enough to be born they
wanted to leave the body of the mother and come into the
light. So they found their way out through a part of the
body which has been called the gateway of life. And now
you see they are quite alive and drinking the milk that is
made in the breasts of the mother.
LESSON II. BIRDS AND THEIR YOUNG
This morning let us walk across the meadow to the
copse and look for birds' nests. I want to show you a
blackbird's home, or nest, with the eggs in it, which will
in a few days become little birds with large, hungry, gaping
mouths and almost naked bodies. I think we shall find
a nest in that blackthorn bush with the pretty white
blossoms showing. Do you know that those blossoms
will turn into little sour plums called sloes, and that some
52 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
of the sloes will fall on the ground and after some time
make other sloe or blackthorn bushes ? You see again
that all living things come from seeds or eggs.
Now I have found a blackbird's nest with bluey eggs
spotted with brown. There are five of them. Each one
has a tiny bird in it, and the eggs were dropped in the
nicely made nest by the hen or mother. You know there
are two sexes in birds the males or cocks, and the females
or hens. The hens are the mothers and the cocks are the
fathers. The father bird is blacker than the mother bird,
and he has an orange beak. He is very fond of the mother
bird, and keeps near her for many weeks in the spring.
While the hen is sitting on the eggs to keep them warm
and make the birds in them, the father goes to find food for
her. He sits on a bough not far from the nest and often
sings a cheerful song to his wife or mate. When the young
birds are hatched, the male bird feeds both them and the
mother, and keeps watch against enemies, such as hawks
and crows, or cruel children.
If you feel one of the eggs you will find that it is warm.
If it gets cold the little bird inside will die. After several
days the chicken in the egg has a few feathers, and his beak
grows. When he is ready to come out he picks a hole in
the shell, pushes his head through and wriggles out. The
eggs grow in the body of the hen, and in March or April
she has the nest all ready to lay the eggs in. But before
she begins to make the nest she finds a male bird, or mate.
She chooses him because he is strong and brave and kind.
The hen knows that she must have a protector while she is
sitting on the eggs and attending to the young ones, and
she wants a mate to help her to build the home. Just as
your father and I love one another and you, so the male
and female blackbirds love one another and their family.
LESSON III. BUTTERFLIES
You have seen the blackbird's eggs and learned some-
thing about how birds are born. To-day I want to tell
you about butterflies. Come into the garden and let us
look for butterfly eggs. Here are some on this cabbage
INSTRUCTION OF YOUNG CHTLDRKX 53
loaf, little specks all clustered together. Inside those
ks of eggs are tiny grubs, or caterpillars, waiting to be
born. One day they will bore their way out of the eggs
and begin to feed on the leaves. They have strong jaws
and are able to eat large holes in the leaves. When the
caterpillars are big they seem to get sleepy and tired.
They leave off eating and a shell begins to grow over them.
They then turn into pupae or chrysalises. The chrysalis
lies as though it was dead ; but it is not really so. Inside
the shell a white butterfly is forming.
It is very strange and wonderful that the butterfly,
which only lives for a few days, should be so long in the
making. First it is an egg in the body of the mother
butterfly and is laid on the cabbage leaf. Then it becomes
a caterpillar and eats hungrily till it changes to a chrysalis ;
and at last the perfect insect, a fine white butterfly with
black-spotted wings, comes into the sunshine and flies
about, seeking for a mate.
If the butterfly is a female, or mother, she soon gets eggs
in her and looks for a nice young cabbage on which to lay
them. When she has done this her life's work is over
and she soon dies. But she leaves behind her a great
number of eggs, which are the beginnings of more butter-
LESSON IV. How FISH ARE BORN
I have told you something about birds, butterflies and
kittens and how they all come from eggs or seeds. Let us
talk to-day about fish and how they are born. It is a
curious thing that the egg of a salmon is very much bigger
than the egg of many animals that are much larger. We
call the eggs of salmon roe. A salmon's egg is almost as
large as a pea. It is like jelly, and if you drop it on the
floor it will bounce like a ball. Inside that little ball of
jelly is the germ or seed of a fish that may grow to fifty
pounds in weight. You know that a little acorn will make
a huge oak.
Only the female or mother salmon has eggs. She has
very many thousands of them. In the autumn these egg[s
swell and are called " ripe." This means that Nature is
54 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
anxious for more salmon to be born. Nature always wants
plants and animals to increase, and that is why she gives
them an enormous quantity of eggs.
When the mother salmon feels that she would like to get
rid of some of the ripe eggs, she grows restless, and swims
up the river to the higher part, where the water flows over
a nice clean gravel bed. On the way she meets the father
salmon, who goes with her. This is called pairing. In the
spring the birds pair before they have young ones. We
may say that the two salmon are a married pair, for they
keep together for many weeks. The place where the
female salmon lays her eggs is called the redd or spawning
bed. Before she lays the eggs, the male salmon helps her
to make a number of little hollows in the gravelly bed of
the stream. The eggs are passed from the body of the
mother salmon into the holes, and both the father and
mother keep watch over them for some time.
But the mother salmon cannot make young salmon
without the help of the father. If she laid the eggs and
nothing was done to them they would never become little
fish. So the male salmon covers them with milky stuff,
called milt, to make them fruitful or fertile. This means
that the milt must be added to the eggs before tiny salmon
can be born.
LESSON V. SEED AND PLANTS
You know now that both the male (or man) salmon and
the female (or woman) come together to bring young ones
into life. In plants we shall find the male and female, as
we do in animals. Some plants are both male and female
in one, but in others they are separate plants. You have
tasted dates. These fruits grow on big trees. One tree
may be called the father and another the mother, and unless
the two grow near together there will be no young dates.
When plants have flowers the male or father part is
called the stamen and the mother or female part is called
the pistil. Before the little plant can grow in the seed
a powder called pollen from the stamen must fall on the
pistil. I have told you that Nature wishes many animals
to be born. She is just as anxious that there shall be
INSTRUCTION OF YOUNG CHILDREN 55
trees and flowers ; so she provides plenty of seed. In
the " clock " of a dandelion, the feathery seeds that you
often blow into the air, arc as many as 240,000. Some of
these thousands upon thousands of feathers, after dropping
to the ground, turn into little dandelions.
Some plants are able to make seed by the help of the
wind, which blows the pollen on to the pistil. These are
called wind-loved plants. Other plants grow seed through
the work of insects, and especially the busy bees, that come
to the flowers for honey. If you notice a bumble bee you
will see powder or pollen on his hairy body, and this pollen
is left on the pistils of flowers to make new flowers bloom
on new plants.
The flowers that insects visit are generally very brightly
coloured, scarlet, yellow or blue, and they have sugar or
honey in them. While the bee is getting honey to eat and
to store up for the winter, he does not know that he is
helping to make plants. In hot countries, where there are
very tiny birds, known as humming-birds, plants are in-
creased by these birds carrying the pollen from one flower
Young plants are not born from the bodies of other
plants, but from Mother Earth. The seed falls from the
plants when it is dry and ripe and lies on the ground,
sometimes covered by dead leaves, and in time it bursts
and the shoot of a baby plant comes above the soil.
LESSON VI. WONDERS OF BIRTH
In some very curious living creatures, such as worms
that you see in the garden and leeches that swim in ponds,
the father and mother part are in the same animal. It is
when we begin to learn about the higher kinds of animals,
the birds, four-legged things and men, that we find the
father part and the mother part in two different persons.
Some animals are nothing more than a skin, a stomach
and a mouth, like certain kinds of live sponges. Creatures
of this kind grow new creatures out of themselves by
casting off parts of their bodirs. Amon- the rocks of
mountains are beautiful white crystals which grow to a
56 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
certain size and then make other crystals. * It is so with
some sorts of animal beings.
When the mother part and father part are found in the
same living creature it is able to have young by very tiny
specks of the two parts coming together. The mother part
is generally much larger than the father part. Some
oysters have both parts and others only one. The same
thing is seen in garden slugs. In some water-animals the
father part and mother part fall from the animal and come
together to make a new being. Sometimes these two-in-
one animals can separate themselves into two halves.
This is called cleavage or division. One of the animals
that splits off parts of the body to make another living
creature is the sea- anemone, and another is the jelly-fish.
LESSON VII. CHILD LIFE
You have asked me how you came to life and I will tell
you. You have learned already several interesting and
wonderful things about the coming to life of some insects,
birds, fishes and cats. When your father and I knew that
we loved one another, and were married, I hoped that I
might have a baby of my very own and so did your father.
One day I felt that a little live creature was beginning to
grow in me, and I knew that I should have a child. For
several months you grew inside me, safe and warm, not far
below my heart. At first you were only a seed, but month
by month you began to shape into a little boy. I could not
tell then whether you would be a boy or a girl and I did
not know till you were born.
You lay in a nest, which grew larger while you were
growing, and before you came into the world, through the
gateway of life, I knew that you were alive and getting
bigger, because sometimes I could feel you moving. Some
of the food that I ate came to you from my blood, which
passed through your little body and made you strong.
At last you had grown big enough to come into the world
and to leave the warm nest. Like the chickens in the egg,
you wanted to come out, and you found the way. When
you were born you were tiny and helpless, and felt cold
INSTRUCTION OF YOUNG CHILDREN 57
after being in the nest. I was very happy when I saw
my dear little son, and took him in my arms to warm and
feed him. For a long time you were fed on the milk from
my breasts. When you grew bigger your teeth began to
come and you were able to chew food.
That is how my son came to life. He is a part of myself,
and that is why I love him and he loves me.
Now I have explained all that you want to know. If
anyone tells you any different story it will not be true.
LESSON VIII. OUR WONDERFUL BODIES
When you are older and want to learn, and can under-
stand some things better, you will learn about the body,
or the living house in which you breathe. It is a very
wonderful machine and so wonderful that even wise men
are still learning something new about it. I wish you to
know while you are quite young that the body is precious
and that you must take care of it, and understand it, like
you would take care of something that you valued very
All animals that have bony backbones are called verte-
brates. You and I are vertebrates. Some animals, as
you know, do not get milk from their mothers when they
are little. You and I were fed on our mothers' milk,
and we are called mammals. We are the highest kinds
of mammals in the world. This is chiefly because we can
think much better than other animals. Our brains are
what we think with, and we ought to learn how to think
well, so that we may act rightly, keep ourselves well and
be of use to others by acting wisely and kindly.
If we do not know anything of our bodies we are sure
to make mistakes sometimes. All children have to be
taught what they should eat and drink, how to keep clean
and other important matters. The monkeys, who are
next below us among the mammals, know many things
by instinct and do not need to be taught. But life
is more difficult for human beings and without thought
they would be worse off than many animals. If a
young monkey is thrown into the water instinct will tell
58 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
him how to swim. But a boy has to be taught how to
The body can only be kept in order by warmth, air to
breathe, food and drink, rest, work, play, and getting
rid of waste things. This keeping the body clean outside
and in is very important. A part of the useless matter
that is amongst our food and drink must be sent away from
the body. Some of it goes through the skin, which is full
of millions of tiny holes, or pores, and is called sweat. If
the body did not breathe through the skin it would soon
die. Washing is necessary to remove some of the liquid,
or sweat, that stops on the skin, and to keep the pores clean
and open to the air.
Another part of the waste stuff is passed out of the body
through the bowels, below the waist. The outside passage
is called the anus. The watery waste matter comes out
in front of the body. Now I want to tell you that very
silly little boys and girls, who have not been brought up
properly, often make stupid remarks about these parts
of the body. Don't pay any attention to them. There is
really nothing to laugh at in this getting rid of substances
not needed in the body. It is foolish to talk unnecessarily
about these duties or to pretend that they are either
shameful or funny.
When you are older you will learn more about the uses
of certain parts or organs of the body ; but until you are
big enough to understand, just think of them as sensibly
as you do about the eyes or the ears. I mention the parts
now because I want you to use them properly all your life.
Very much pain and illness come from not attending
regularly to getting rid of the unwanted matter through the
two passages. Many men and women are ill all their lives
because they have not formed a good habit in this way
when they were children.
The urine, or water from the body, should be passed off
directly the feeling is uncomfortable, and you should make
the same rule about the excrement, or unwanted matter,
from the bowels. I can hardly tell you how important
it is to remember this. It is a matter that concerns not
only the body but the mind. Your happiness depends
very much on your doing these duties regularly. Many
EDUCATION FOR ADOLESCENT GIRLS 105
them from bad to worse. This does not mean that
lould countenance sin and vice. But we should try
to uplift the fallen by sympathy and love, recognising always
that we are none of us free from sin, though some kinds of
temptation may not trouble us.
Prudery is not clean-mindedness and is opposed to true
^sty. Many persons who are innately immodest and
v y' prurient minds assume an extreme attitude of pro-
..*' ty as a disguise. The modest woman is not shocked
1 he manifestations of life, but by the misuse of the love
impulse, by vice, vulgarity and the affectation of shame
for harmless things.
LESSON VI. MARRIAGE
The union of lovers in wedlock brings new happiness and
new responsibilities into their lives. When two are made
one by the solemn conjugal bond each partner enters upon
a great adventure full of golden promise. The natural and
^oral sanction for marriage is love, which has grown out
c y r ong mutual attraction and courtship. Without
^ 2c on and the desire for companionship there can be
/^f'le union of man and woman.
Before a maiden consents to marriage she should under-
stand the full moaning of the conjugal life and its duties.
The dreams of youth are often misleading, and when the
feelings are ardent, prudent reflection and self-examination
are often overwhelmed by emotion. An infatuation blinds
many to the defects and failings of the loved person before
marriage. Many girls marry without a passionate attach-
ment to their suitors. Sometimes discontent and un-
happiness urge them into a hasty marriage ; and there are
some who look upon married life merely as a means of
obtaining material comforts, luxuries, more liberty, or a
better position in society. All these adjuncts to well-
being may, however, fail to bring contentment to the heart
Mn;in who is capable of a devoted love. The greatest
in lif<- are not purchasable. There are deep spiritual
need^ that only the things of the spirit can satisfy.
v women pine amongst luxuries because their luait
hunger is not appeased. They become nervous, prematurely
io6 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
old and frequently ill. Something vital is wanting in their
lives, and this want cannot be gratified by the possession
of money, a fine house and beautiful dresses. A wife may
possess all these, and yet feel that she has been cheated
of the chief heritage of woman, the love, sympathy and
devotion of a good man.
Girls of the marriageable age should know that men
prone to sudden attractions for women through <
physical charms, and that there are types of men who see:
incapable of loving through admiration for mental or me, ex*
qualities. A strong attraction towards the bodily virtues
is an essential of true love in both man and woman.
Broadly speaking, women seek strength and energy in
men, and men seek beauty in women. But a passion arising
only from the senses is seldom very lasting. There must be
respect for character, recognition of fine moral qualities, and
an affinity in intellectual tastes.
A woman may be allured by a handsome man, and under
the spell of this fascination she may overlook the fact that
he is a spendthrift, or an idler, or lacking in the qualities
of sympathy, understanding and kindness. Therefore the
physical attraction alone is not a guarantee of an abiding
affection. There must be the attraction of the mind and
the spirit as well as the aesthetic or sensuous appeal.
A young woman sought by a lover should assure herself
that she loves him sincerely with body and spirit before she
consents to marriage. She should be sure that he has no
habit or strong desires that are likely to cause disharmony
in married life. She should be tolerant of his little weak-
nesses, and not censorious of his mistakes, and should
demand the same consideration from her lover for her foibles
and errors. There should be an agreement between the
two to help one another in overcoming defects of tempera-
ment. Even in an ardent love-marriage the small irrita-
tions of daily life are liable to influence the pair, and tact
and patience must be cultivated.
Much of the spiritual beauty of marriage is dependent
upon physiological harmony. The sacrament of wedlock
is the union of bodies as well as spirits. We cannot truly
love, in the conjugal sense, a person who is physically re-
pugnant. Now, unfortunately, many girls enter marriage
EDUCATION FOR ADOLESCENT GIRLS 107
without proper comprehension of the very intimate nature
of the physical union and its effect upon the mind and the
emotions. We are beginning to realise that a large number
of marriages are unhappy because of the spiritual dis-
harmony arising from the lack of bodily affinity. Hence
it behoves the prospective wife to acquaint herself with the
I the conjugal life and the laws of reproduction. This
>'dge may be gained from a well-informed married
d, or from one of the scientific but plainly written
uuctuuals on these subjects which have been published
during the past five and twenty years.
No woman would think of beginning a craft or profes-
sion without preliminary preparation. The preparation for
marriage is certainly of equal importance. And when we
consider that our marriages do not concern us alone, but
the children who will be born to us, the community in which
we live and the generations to come, we are justified in
saying that the knowledge essential for healthy conjugality
is the highest of all. It should be considered a disgrace, if
not a crime, to marry without understanding the principles
of the force that is the very mainspring of humanity.
The will to live rightly and the most exalted religious
enthusiasm are not sufficient alone to guide us safely in
matrimony. A desire for sound knowledge is in itself a
moral or religious impulse. The earnest, spiritually minded
man or woman strives after wisdom as a light for the feet.
We know on the testimony of deeply religious, but far-
sighted, clergymen that piety without knowledge of natural
laws does not always ensure noble living, or protect us
from committing grave mistakes. Moral zeal supported by
sound knowledge must be our watchword.
It is the main object of these lessons to convince you that
body and mind are inseparable, mutually dependent and
continually affected one by the other. The loveliest flower-
ing of the soul has its physical origin and precedents, and
the thoughts of the brain flash their messages to the re-
motest organs of the body. Pity causes the heart-throb,
and there is truth in the old saying that the bowels move
with compassion. The brain poisoned by the acids of
fatigue gives rise to gloomy, apprehensive ideas. When
the brain is flushed with healthy blood the dejection
io8 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
vanishes, suspicions and dreads are allayed, and the sad
man of yesterday assures himself that life has its hours of
Throughout nature we find proof that mating is attended
with joy and pleasure. This is essential for the continuance
of the species. Human marriage is the source of the highest
happiness. But human love is an intensely complicated
emotion, and this very complexity in the pairing impu'
in man is evidence of his wide differentiation from i
animals immediately below him. The physical impulsion
in man becomes subordinate in many instances to the
spiritual longings, and these desires are more complex than
the purely physical or the sensuous. This accentuation
of the mental or spiritual yearnings brings certain risks
of disharmony into marriage. The mental machinery of
civilised men and women becomes highly intricate, delicate
and liable to derangement. Civilisation increases and in-
tensifies our emotional desires and creates new needs.
This heightening of the emotional power in the love of
mankind makes it imperative that the impulse should be
directed by knowledge, and not left to the mercy of dying
instincts. We need knowledge in marriage in order to
preserve the fresh beauty of love. Much, perhaps most, of
the unhappiness in married life is the direct result of
ignorance. Men do not learn the true nature and the
deepest desires of women, and women neglect the proper
study of men. It is easy enough to say that men are
happy if their wives give them good dinners, or that women
are quite content with existence if their husbands are
generous with money. We know from daily experience that
excellent cooking does not constitute the highest human
felicity for a vast number of husbands, and that many wives,
with all the luxuries that wealth can procure, are utterly
disappointed with marriage.
SEXUAL HYGIENE IN CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH
THE hygiene of the reproductive system depends largely
upon the general care of the body. Proper sanitation,
judicious nutrition, suitable exercise, healthful clothing
and careful ablution of the whole surface of the skin are
essential for a hygienic sexuality. It is well known, for
example, that insanitary overcrowding lowers vitality, and
is a source of consumption and other diseases, and that
congested living tends to heighten sex precocity.
Very few parents make a scientific study of the impor-
tant question of alimentation during infancy, childhood
and adolescence. In the well-to-do orders young children
are often overfed, and in the poorer classes a large number
are under-nourished. Overfeeding is the bane of many
children. How often are children stuffed with rich and
stimulating food under the misapprehension that the more
a child eats the stronger it will be. We see many young
children of both sexes who are overfed. They are clumsy
in their movements through obesity, and the excess in
diet produces biliousness, skin rashes, boils, and prepares
the soil for the development of disease in adult life. Though
the body of a child requires fats, this does not indicate that
constant fatty food in large quantities is beneficial.
In school life many children do not receive sufficient
nourishment for bodily upkeep and growth. The dietary
in the better-class boarding schools has improved during
the past fifty years ; but many adolescents are not
sufficiently fed. For the maintenance of sexual, as well as
general, health, the diet of childhood and youth must be
plain, nutritive and non-stimulative. Flesh foods in undue
quantity are injurious to children, and after puberty they
tend to inflame latent sexual desire. There is no doubt
no A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
that overeating actively stimulates eroticism in adolescents
It is hardly necessary to caution parents against permit-
ting children to take alcoholic drinks. Alcohol is one of
the most potent of sexual stimulants. It quickly affects
the blood vessels and the brain, and besides exciting desire,
it relaxes the power of control. Wine has its value as a
beverage in health and in some cases as a medicine. But ||f
alcoholic drink is pernicious for children and should only
be used with careful moderation by the adult. Excessive
drinking undoubtedly slackens inhibition, coarsens the
brain and arouses libidinous feeling. There is little doubt
that the poisoned life germs of the intemperate produce
diseased offspring. Epilepsy, idiocy, mental defectiveness
and many other ailments of body and mind are noted in
the descendants of heavy drinkers.
We may not be able to check all the peripheral or spon-
taneous excitations of an erotic character in the child.
We can, however, greatly lessen the risk of external stimula-
tion and artificial excitement. The physical stimuli are
undue warmth of the skin caused by clothes and bed-
coverings, too prolonged hot bathing, irritations in the genital
and anal regions, a rich diet, all forms of luxurious living and
flogging. 1 The mental excitations may be even more numer-
ous, especially in the case of children of the wealthier classes.
These arousing factors are over-excitement, late hours,
suggestion through companions, the influence of erotic
or indecent conversation, vulgar entertainments, obscene
books and pictures, nervous anxiety from any cause, often
producing a craving for relief, and a prudish upbringing. I
believe the last to be the most potent of all.
There is a tendency for almost any part of the skin to
become erogenous. This important fact should be care-
fully heeded by all who have the care of the young. Much
caressing, kissing and fondling must be avoided. The
highly sensitive skin covering, with its countless nerves, is
in direct communication with the brain. In hysteria the
sensitivity of the skin is often intensified. The earliest of
all pleasurable sensations arise from the skin e.g. the act
of suckling in infancy. Cutaneous excitation undoubtedly
1 See page 138.
SEXUAL HYGIENE IN CHILDHOOD in
causes the most powerful aivl often overwhelming psychic
MI ! notion of the skin of the forehead, causing
stimulation of the nerves, is a common habit of many who
iiv thru brains. In China fathers refrain from kissing
their daughters for fear of erotic stimulation. It is not
necessary to observe such extreme precaution as this, but
all reflective parents will recognise that risk may attend
excessive caressing of the young.
Ellis points out that the connection between the sexual
sphere and the skin is shown in acne and pimples on the face.
The " blackheads," so frequently seen on the faces of
pubescent boys and girls, are probably an abortive effort
of the sebaceous glands to grow hair. " As a rule acne
appears about puberty and dies out slowly during adoles-
cence." This skin affection is also liable to appear during
The sensibility of the skin is very manifest in young
children who find pleasure in tickling. This sensation is
a pain-pleasure, which is sometimes sought voluntarily. It
is not in itself a morbid manifestation ; but it is obvious
that it may become so if the irritation is applied to specific
parts of the body. The eminent physician Gowers said
shrewdly that the sexual act is a " skin reflex." A medical
correspondent, writing to Ellis, advances the theory that
ticklishness in virgins may be " nature's self-protection "
against sexual advances. It is perhaps significant that the
inclination to be tickled usually ceases at puberty.
We may state with assurance that the avoidance of un-
due tactile stimulations in childhood is advisable. Every
care should be taken to keep the sex feeling at bay until
such time as it may be legitimately satisfied in a marriage
of love. To this end we must guard against everything that
can become a sexual irritant. Every ascetic of old realised
the value of cold in allaying unruly desires. Warmth
is an excitant; and though artificial heat is necessary for
health in cold and damp climates, we must not be too
warmly clad for sexual health.
Children and adolescents should not sleep on luxurious
feather beds. The garments should be loose. There
should not be pressure or friction in the genital parts. One
writer traces the masturbatory habit in little boys to tight
H2 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
breeches. Close-fitting stays are said to have the same
effect upon girls. Some very young children often handle
themselves almost constantly until they are corrected.
This habit often arises from local irritation through pressure
of clothes or from uncleanness of the parts.
Norah March points out that, physiologically and psychic-
ally, in boys, the sensations of sex " are more acute and
specific than in girls/' * This difference between boys
and girls should be admitted and faced by the parent and
teacher. The scheme of Nature does not harmonise with
all our moral and social codes. The adolescent boy may
experience erotic feeling long before he is fitted to reproduce
the species. Thus a serious problem arises for the young
man and his guardians.
In our day there is a growing postponement of the age of
marriage. " Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his
way ? " is a pressing question for the hygienist and the
moralist. We can only employ every possible means to
diminish the influence of amatory stimuli for those com-
pelled to a long period of celibacy. And these means must
be exercised from infancy. We cannot begin hygienic and
ethical guidance at a too early age. But this direction
must be very carefully planned and conducted.
The hygiene of celibacy needs to be clearly formulated.
We are beginning to apprehend that it is not sufficient
simply to enjoin purity and chastity. We must devise
other safeguards. This cannot be done while the great
bulk of fathers and mothers, tutors and clergymen exhibit
no active interest in the educational guidance of sex
development. The untaught cannot instruct.
Mere exhortation to continence, control and the repres-
sion of " evil thoughts " is lamentably inadequate, as daily
experience proves. We tell a boy that lust is a sin, and
warn him against concupiscence, while we inflame his
system with a too generous diet, permit alcoholic stimulants,
provide him with a feather bed and too much covering, and
generally coddle him. We counsel purity and give no
hygienic instruction for the maintenance of a clean mind
in a clean body. We silence natural inquiry and leave the
boy exposed to those corrupting influences of the world
1 Towatds Racial Health.
SEXUAL HYGIENE IN CHILDHOOD 113
from which there is no escape in the average adolescent life.
.nstil prudish, shamefaced views upon sox, wliicli
M-t tin- niin-! morbidly wondering, and often induce an
insatiable secret curiosity. How can we expect that the
youth will attain manhood with a fine respect for his
sex potentiality, his procreative responsibility and his duty
to the race ?
Excess in athletics and the more violent games may
induce fatigue of the nerves and the muscles, which in its
turn causes disturbed sleep, and is apt to arouse sexual
desire. A deficiency of exercise for the body leaves a
superabundance of force that may be expended sexually.
Overstrain of the mind produces insomnia, and masturba-
tion is often practised in order to obtain sleep. Listening
to erotic, indecent talk awakens smouldering fire in many
youths. The amatory excitants are extremely numerous,
and that which has no effect upon an under-sexed or
phlegmatic nature may be a powerful aphrodisiac for
The struggle to maintain chastity may be very severe in
some young men, while in others it may be slight. Impulses
may be constant in the highly virile or merely periodic in
some cases. When excitement arises in the celibate he
should try to transfer the energy into hard work, vigorous
play, absorbing, non-exciting study, or any interest that
demands concentration. Every effort of diffusion of the
sexual longing fortifies the will, and there is no doubt
that a well-exercised will, like an actively used muscle, can
The hygiene of the female sex life is more neglected than
that of the male in most civilised races, especially in the
Western world. Although the erotic nature of woman
requires more subtle stimulation, especially of an emotional-
psychic kind, than the amative desire of man, it must not
be' supposed that prolonged celibate living has no trials
for the average healthy woman as well as the neurotic or
hyperaesthetic types. Dr Elizabeth Blackwell and other
women physicians have endorsed the view of gynaecologists
114 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
that sex plays an eminently influential part in a woman's
We may be less concerned with the risks of unchastity
in the girl than with the boy, but we cannot overlook the
fact that neglect of sex hygiene injures the female even more
than the male. So meagre is the knowledge of the laws
of the sexual life among women themselves that many
suffer from symptoms arising from the uterus or the ovaries
without the least consciousness of the nature of the disorder.
The prevalence of displacement, malposition and prolapse
of the womb is due in most cases to artificial and unhealthy
living, to overstrain and neglect of suitable rest after
pregnancy. Prolapsus often occurs in unmarried women and
in girls during adolescence. Besides the physical disability
and suffering caused by this derangement, there are mental
influences, sometimes of a marked character. The sufferer
is nervous, depressed, irritable, peevish. These symptoms
usually vanish magically after medical attention ; but if
neglected they may quickly transform a normally patient
woman into a harassed condition, disturbing to domestic
Most of the menstrual disorders are preventable through
hygiene. The whole process of pregnancy or gestation is
made complicated, and often painful, by injudicious living.
Delivery or parturition is rendered more torturing and
sometimes a danger to life through the unhealthy mode of
existence before and during wedlock. Suckling, or lacta-
tion, has also its abnormalities and ailments. A host of
women have wandered so far from Dame Nature that they
cannot nourish their own offspring. Some have no milk ;
others have an insufficient supply. Sometimes the nipples
have been flattened out of all shape, and are practically non-
existent through the constriction of the corset.
A vast number of women fail to participate in a normal
manner in the marital embrace. Dr Mary Stopes estimates
that seventy to eighty per cent, of wives are unhappy in this
relation, through the ignorance of their husbands of the
nature of women and no knowledge of the periodicity of
erotic inclination in their sex. But many are " frigid,"
or anaesthetic, from various physical and psychic causes.
Vecki has found abnormality of this kind in whole families,
SEXUAL HYGIENE IN CHILDHOOD 115
This unnatural condition is sometimes the outcome of
( aivfully imparted prudish prejudice against sex, produc-
\phobia. For this disorder the lack of s \ education
is frequently responsible. False ideas have taken root
deeply in the mind during childhood and youth, and a
repugnance of the scheme of reproduction has developed
into a true mental complex.
A large number of cases of premature birth and abortion,
or miscarriage, are avoidable. The reproductive powers
of many women are overtaxed by too rapidly recurrent
pregnancy. The majority of working-class mothers cannot
rest sufficiently after delivery, and the health of the race
is endangered. Various rigorous forms of labour sap the
power of potential and actual mothers. The sedentary
life, malnutrition, want of fresh air and nervous strain
render some women unfit to continue the race. Anaemia
and neurasthenia handicap an immense number of women
in the battle of life. Ovarian maladies often follow a
denial of the function of maternity. All these are dysgenic
factors, forces acting against the well-being of the individual
and the community. They are chiefly, if not entirely, the
result of the neglect of woman's sex hygiene and education.
Our daughters should be protected against these evils by
a knowledge of the mechanism and the right use of the body,
by an appreciation of their duty as mothers, and by a
practical education in the laws of sex, the care of the racial
function, and the management of infants and children.
They should be taught that love is not only the most
inspiriting of all personal experiences, but the source of
human progress in all the finer spiritual and moral develop-
ments. The ideal attitude to sex must be inculcated not
only by ethical precept, but by scientific teaching that
inspires interest, and reveals the marvels, the beauty and
might of the eternal life energy.
Physical hygiene depends upon sane hygiene of the mind.
We cannot hope that either boys or girls will develop
a proper esteem for the body if the mind is darkened
by counsels of prudery, or soiled by prurient ideas.
Fantastic and irrational recoils of the mind must inevitably
occur when the subject of sex is approached with shameful
furtiveness. If the brain is not working healthily we cannot
n6 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
expect a healthy functioning of organs intimately related
with it. Wrong and distorted thinking upon sex diverts
the erotic impulse from normal expression, and often leads
to abnormality and perversion. Hence the need for a sane
psychic hygiene of sex from childhood and throughout the
whole of life.
FOR the aid of parents and teachers in instructing adoles-
o'nts some knowledge of the structure of the organs of
generation and their functions is essential. It is not often
necessary to impart precise anatomical information to
children before the age of puberty. But hygienic counsel
cannot well be given without physiological knowledge,
and parents with sons and daughters of the marriageable
age should be able to answer inquiry concerning physical
processes. When we realise that the well-being of the body
is greatly dependent upon healthy sex function, as well as
nutrition, it is not possible to separate the physiology of
the reproductive system from general physiology. We
cannot interpret the psychic elements in sex love without
a knowledge of sexual physiology.
Reproduction in such lowly organisms as the monera and
amoeba, which are microscopic unit-masses of protoplasm,
is by cleavage or division into equal halves. Man's earliest
forerunners in the animal kingdom increased by division,
the splitting of single cells, or by the formation of buds.
Sexual differentiation marks great evolutionary progress.
The offspring of the female cell and the male cell inherit
the qualities of both parents, and there is advance in
intelligence, complexity of structure, and variation in
individuals. Thus the attraction of two differing cells is
the beginning of psychic or spiritual development and ex-
pansion. The process of reproduction becomes intimately
associated with, and practically dependent upon, psychic
inlluenees. Manifold subtle mental and emotional forces
enter into sexual love, which is no longer a media n i. il
This attraction of the sperm cell of the male to the ovum
n8 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
of the female is the biological, the primal, source of love
in mankind. The brain becomes dominated by a mighty
passion with stupendous power for human weal or human
woe. Man's progress is to an enormous extent the result
of the complex sex development, differentiating him from
The sexual differences in the two sexes can be seen in the
embryo in the tenth week after conception. After birth
the sex organs are immature, and remain infantile until the
approach of puberty at about fourteen in the girl and fifteen
in the boy. In males the testicles, which contain the
germs of life, are in the groin, or inguinal region, until the
oncoming of pubertal growth, when they descend into
the sac or scrotum. The tissue of the external organs of
generation in both sexes is profusely supplied with blood.
Congestion of the blood vessels produces the state of
turgescence necessary for coitus (sexual union).
The male sperm is contained in tubules in the testicles
and is expelled in the sex act. The active fertilising cells
are in a fluid which is injected into the female vagina.
If a spermatozoon meets a mature ovum in the uterus, or
the ovarian tubes of the female, conception occurs. The
ovum (female generative cell) is minute in size, but the
spermatozoon (male cell) is very much smaller. The male
germs are extremely active, and may be said to find the
ovum by instinct. Ancient physiologists believed that the
spermatozoa were animalcules.
Ova are contained in a capsule, or follicle, discovered by
R. de Graaf in 1677, an( ^ since called the Graafian follicle.
This fibrous follicle has fluid, and is lined with cells that
encompass the true ovum. The ovum is of oval form and
may be about y^^ inch in diameter, or considerably larger
when ripened. Ova are conveyed from the ovaries to the
womb, or uterus, by the oviducts or Fallopian tubes.
The uterus is a highly dilatable bag, provided with glands
from birth. At puberty these secreting organs increase
in number, and they elongate during menstruation. The
passage from the exterior of the body to the womb is called
the vagina, meaning a sheath. It is supplied with mucous
glands and a network of nerves. The mouth of the womb
is in the upper part of the vagina.
The breasts are provided with secreting glands, larg<
small ducts, and cells that form oil and milk globules. The
s, or mammae, increase in size at puberty, and enlarge
still more during child-bearing and suckling. In old age
they usually shrink and lose their firmness and rotundity.
Menstruation, the menses, or monthly course is a law of
sexual periodicity occurring in the human species in most
once in the lunar month. It is a preparation for
mcy, and is believed by some investigators to involve
a monthly discarding of membranous tissue in the uterus,
and a kind of inner renovation. During the period the
mature ovum passes into the uterus, where it awaits the
male fertilising element. If unimpregnated, the ovum
perishes. There is still doubt as to the exact cause of the
real physical nature of the menstrual process. The matur-
ing of the ovum does not appear to be an efficient cause,
as ovulation is a continuous activity and has been noted
before birth. Moreover, removal of the ovarian organs does
not always affect the monthly function. Menstruation has
occurred when ovaries and tubes were absent; and there
may be no menstrual flow, though the ovaries are perfectly
normal and ovulation occurs.
Menstruation has been regarded as a supernatural event.
There were formerly endless taboos and regulations con-
nected with this natural phenomenon. Among some savage
and semi-barbaric peoples the cycle occurs at long intervals.
This has been noted among the Eskimos, the Laplanders,
American Indians, and in South American tribes. Among
Europeans there are instances of the fortnightly recurrence
of menstruation. Dr Marie Carmichael Stopes has lately
published some highly interesting data concerning the
regular recurrence of sexual desire in women at the mid-
monthly period. This periodic manifestation is regarded
by Dr Stopes as a natural law that is almost unrecognised
in the civilised societies of to-day. To the neglect of this
law she attributes a large part of conjugal disharmony
and unhappiness. 1
It seems plain that the higher the evolution the more
marked is the tendency to frequent repetition of the menstrual
function and the more copious the flow. There is a view
1 Married Love. M. C. Stopes, M.D. Fifield, London, 1918.
120 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
that the process has been rendered more frequent by artificial
living and by various stimuli ; but some of the higher apes
are known to menstruate once a month. It has been
suggested that prolonged menstrual periods may arrest
growth in delicate girls, and Dr Fothergill has stated that
if this wastage can be checked development of the body
When it is recognised that menstruation is a continuous
process, we shall realise that girls require a different up-
bringing from boys. In the reproduction of the species
the female plays the more exacting part throughout nature.
A woman may be said to be in a perpetual state of prepara-
tion for the exercise of her maternal office. The physio-
logical and mental changes, involved from puberty, when
menstruation begins, until it ceases at the menopause,
or change of life, are recurrent and affect the whole being.
As Ellis states : " If we have to investigate the compara-
tive reaction of a man and a woman to any scientific test,
we have to recognise that the woman lives on a curve, and
that her exact position on the curve at a given moment may
affect her superiority or inferiority to the man."
The internal ductless glands, termed " hormones " by
Professor Starling, are of great importance in the psychic
and physical sex life. From the glandular cells of the
testicles in man is secreted a fluid that affects body growth
and determines the secondary sexual characters. These
glands act before the germinal function is established.
They are, in a large part, the source of manliness of structure
and of the masculine qualities of mind. Their secretion
also arouses amatory excitement in the brain. Analogous
secretions in the ovary of the woman influence both mind
and body. There seems to be little doubt that the diffusion
of these hormone secretions in man and woman arouses the
mating instinct and contributes to sex characters of a
secondary nature. Experiment shows that injections of
secretion from these remarkable glands will produce very
marked results in persons who have a deficiency of the
1 Refer to Man and Woman. Havelock Ellis. Scott, London.
THE PSYCHOPATHOLOGY OF SEX
THE sexual instinct by reason of its potency, complexity
and reactions is predisposed to aberration, abnormality
and perversion. Absolute normality is not always easy to
define. There are the subnormal and the supernormal
manifestations, as we find them in the under-sexed or
the strongly-sexed individuals. Lombroso describes erotic
excitement in women as pathological, whereas many
physiologists class feminine sexual anaesthesia, or coldness,
as a disorder or neurosis. Ancient asceticism was wont to
regard the love impulse as the outcome of morbidity of
the soul. Many savage people imagine that the normal
physical intercourse of the sexes is dangerous to health.
The researches of modern therapeutists illuminate the
mystery of sex perversions. Some of these phenomena of
the sexual life seem to be echoes of promptings in the early
history of the race, and some are associated with the strange
infantile memories. Passive algolagnia, or the enjoyment
of pain as an erotic stimulant and means of satisfaction,
may arise, as we have seen, from the infliction of corporal
punishment on young children. 1 Active algolagnia, or
Sadism, is an exaggerated survival of the impulse to capture
and seize, or, in other terms, an accentuation of the element
of violence in the male, the more active sex. In a slight
degree it may be said that most women have traces of the
instinct to endure pain inasmuch as their passivity, and
1 I Schoolmaster's Diary contains some wise passages upon sexual
mor.ility and hygiene in boyhood. The occasional ill effects upon
the chastiser as well as the chastised are indicated in the opening
chapter. The Diary merits the attention of all parents and teachers
for its earnestness of aim, suggestions for reform and deep sympathy
for the young.
122 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
often their altruism, contrasts with the energy and egoism
of men. This passivity may merge, under certain stimuli,
into a positive seeking for violence or the endurance of pain.
The natural vehemence of the male may be transformed in
greater or less degree to a desire to inflict pain. In extreme
instances, Sadism finds expression in acts of sheer cruelty
and even murder. This perversion is often associated with
a mania for shedding blood.
We cannot ignore the morbid psychology of sex if we
would be at all points prepared in the guidance of youth.
It is useless to affect that sex aberrations are unusual.
They are far from rare in either uncivilised or civilised races.
Perversions of the sex instinct have been noted in the lowest
as well as the highest orders of mankind, in the genius and
in the most primitive of savages.
Animals in domesticity frequently develop sexual per-
A fair proportion of boys show some slight traits of
cruelty towards companions and animals, and this deficiency
in sympathy is probably more notable before than after
puberty. Pity and kindness are often deepened when the
psyche begins to develop. If a youth exhibits an un-
usual tendency to inflict suffering, especially without pro-
vocation on the part of the victim, we may with some
reason suspect a Sadistic strain. But care must be used
to distinguish between the thoughtless, ignorant imposition
of suffering, often noticeable in quite young children, and
deliberate, meditated acts of cruelty. The wanton tortur-
ing and mutilation of animals is undoubtedly associated
with algolagnia. Such cases are occasionally reported in
the newspapers. The friends of the offenders are unable
to account for these acts on the part of an individual who
may appear perfectly sane.
When algolagnia becomes a true psychosis, or definite
perversion, there is serious danger lest the sufferer should
injure others. There are terrible records of deeds of cruelty
committed by sexual perverts under insane obsessions. In
all the sexually perverse and vicious sections of the com-
munity in the civilised nations, satisfactions are secretly
provided for perverted persons in houses of ill fame. The
chronicles of sexual abnormality, collected by alienists,
THE PSYCHOPATHOLOGY OF SEX 123
i.nis and psychotherapists, abound with
instances of the ingenuity of perverts in obtaining gratifi-
The aberrant impulses may be checked by careful nurture
in childhood and youth, by sublimation of the erotic yearn-
ings, and by hygienic living and engrossing interests.
Hypnotism, or suggestion, has been employed with success
by many psychopathic experts. Psychoanalysis is more
likely to effect a complete cure. Teachers, jurists, doctors
and clergymen should consult the works of Freud, Jung,
Bjerre, Pfister, Ernest Jones, Brill, Djerine and other
writers of the psychoanalytic school.
Various degrees of sex perversion are instanced in the
inveterate habit of repeating indecent anecdotes and jokes,
the writing of obscene anonymous letters to women, and
collecting lewd pictures and photographs. By these means
some persons obtain " a vicarious gratification," and this
may become an actual substitute for normal satisfactions of
instinct. Subjects addicted to the mania for cutting off
women's hair in the streets have admitted that this mis-
demeanour is a sexual impulse. Men and boys who im-
properly expose themselves (exhibitionists) are sufferers
from a somewhat common form of perversion.
Some inquirers in the abnormal psychology of the sexual
instinct regard kleptomania as a sex aberration. Klepto-
maniacs have confessed that they experience erotic feeling
at the moment of purloining an article, and that the danger
of detection intensifies the pleasure. Another common
anomaly of the sex emotion is fetichism, in which the focus
of interest is transferred from the body of the desired person
to parts of the clothing, especially to shoes.
The safeguarding of the developing sex feeling against
perverse tendencies is a matter of great importance for the
parent and the teacher. Quite unwittingly those who have
charge of the young may foster perversions and abnor-
malities. Prudishness and contempt for sex may cause a
pathological frigidity in women. Flippant or gross con-
versation about love and sexual relations may stimulate a
powerful libidinous inclination in youth, which is likely to
induce perverse practice in later life.
124 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
The prevalence and the alleged increase of homosexuality,
or sexual inversion, makes it necessary to devote a few pages
to this difficult enigma of human nature. A perfectly
normal development of the sex instinct in adolescence and
the adult life, in which the affection and desire are towards
one of the opposite sex, is described as heterosexual. If the
emotion and the yearning are aroused by a person of the
same sex, we speak of the attraction as inverted or homo-
sexual. There are men and women who are born with in-
verted instincts. These are classed as true sexual inverts
and are sometimes described as urnings or uranians. The
typical male invert is found in all classes of society, from
the highest to the lowest.
The homosexual is a responsible being. He is fated with
a congenital tendency, but, like the inheritor of the alcoholic
bias, or the man with an imperfect sense of right and wrong,
he is bound to adapt his conduct to the codes of the society
into which he is born.
In this text-book it is not necessary to discuss sexual in-
version in all its bearings upon the individual and the com-
munity. It is necessary, however, to refer to a transitory
manifestation of this aberration, which is a not uncommon
phase of the pubertal stage. We cannot overlook the fact
that a number of teachers and parents are confronted
with this difficult problem. 1 Whispers of unmentionable
practices in certain schools reach the ears of solicitous
Mr A. C. Benson, an experienced educator, states that no
boy is likely to preserve his innocence in passing through
school life. " One hears of simply heart-rending cases
where a boy dare not even tell his parents of what he en-
dures." 2 This aberrant tendency is noted among girls as
well as boys. Intensely emotional friendships are common
in some girls' schools, as described to me by women
1 Several writers on school life allwde to this matter, usually in
2 I he Upton Letters.
THE PSYCHOPATHOLOGY OF SEX 125
In her Aditirss to the Headmistresses of Elementary Schools,
L M. Faithfull, Principal of the Ladies' College,
Cheltenham, states : " It is the duty of every headmistress,
as part of IKT school work, to teach her girls the control of
their affections in relation to school friends and teachers
and the reasons for the importance of reserve in the expres-
sion of emotion. ... In her talks with elder girls a head-
mistress can discuss very plainly the reasons for reserve
and self-restraint in friendships and the possibilities that
lie before girls in falling in love and marriage."
It is important for parents to know that psychologists of
note have traced a frequent transitory tendency to strong
sentimental attraction, sometimes of an erotic type, be-
tween young persons of the same sex, and an adoring, even
passionate, devotion of a boy or a girl for an older member
of the same sex. The truth is that in the first strange and
frequently powerful reaching out of the heart for love in the
pubertal period, and even before, a fervidly emotional
nature may " fall in love," as it appears, with a person
of the same sex. In many instances, probably in the
majority, there is no definite, specialised physical arousing
No doubt school life, with its practically complete seclusion
from the opposite sex, may aid in the temporary fixation
of an ardent affection upon one of the same sex. It is
noted that this transient, sentimental phase is a common
form of substitution-love in both boys' and girls' schools.
The keenly awakened sentiment vaguely quests for response
and satisfaction. When the boy or the girl leaves school
and mixes freely among both sexes, the emotion speedily
takes the normal course, and the preoccupation is directed
upon the opposite sex.
Reviewing the matter cautiously, I am convinced that
the conclusions of the newer psychology are correct. This
temporary emotion is not rare under trie present system of
sexual segregation in youth, and may even arise when there
is no compulsory separation of the sexes. The love instinct
in its nascent stage gropes, often semi-consciously at the
most, for expression and satisfaction. There may be no
sentiment whatever regarding the opposite sex, though a
craving to love and to be loved exists in the child's t>:
126 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
Therefore, in the vast majority of cases, the true inverted
sense never develops fully nor becomes permanent.
The transitory and vague inverted tendency of childhood
and adolescence may develop and become permanent
through experimentation in erotic irregularities, or by the
example of adults or older school companions. Normally
there is great variety in sexual idiosyncrasy, and suggestion
and example may induce abnormal proclivities in youth.
How, tken, shall we protect our children against the risk of
acquiring perverse habits ? Our first endeavour must be to
establish a respect for sex and a high appreciation for the
need for controlling wandering propensities. We should
teach that normality is healthy, natural and socially
advantageous. It must be insisted that the formation of
abnormal habits is likely to become a terrible tyranny.
There is also the moral aspect of the question. The boy
who instils homosexual ideas in a companion may cause
social disgrace and complicate the struggle for chastity.
We must exert the most careful discernment in warning the
young upon this danger. It may not be necessary to refer
explicitly to homosexuality and perversions ; but there should
be general counsel and warning against tampering with the
life force. If inversion is suspected, the boy or girl should be
treated as early as possible by a skilled psychotherapist.
Let us close this chapter with a hopeful anticipation of
human progress towards a finer sex life. For ages sexual
excesses and morbidities have prevailed among mankind.
Some of these evils are due to disharmonies and savage
survivals that evolution will ultimately remove. The
races still flourish in spite of the common theory of degenera-
tion. There are always strong natural forces counteracting
deteriorating processes, and there is ample proof that the
course of humanity is ever upward. Old diseases fade and
disappear, and new maladies appear, but man's intelligence
improves progressively, and therapeutics and hygiene
advance remarkably, cycle by cycle. The more we under-
stand natural law the more are we protacted against the
risks of social, moral and physical decline.
THE PSYCHOPATIIOLOGY OF SEX 127
No sexual psychologist, looking at the past pages of
hum. m development, and noting the present manifestations
of tin- vita se-.\nalis, can doubt that we are moving upwards,
and, very slowly though it may seem, working out the
herita es of fantastic as contrasted with scientific or
PART III. EDUCATIONAL FACTORS
THE HOME TRAINING
THE lessons learned " at the mother's knee " leave a deep-
cut impression upon the child's brain. From the age of
three till nine years the callow mind is highly receptive and
retentive, and that which is stamped upon it is likely to
remain throughout life, tincturing thought and actuating
There are defined cycles in sex development. The first
cycle may be said to begin with consciousness in the new-
born infant. In this infantile stage spontaneous sexual
manifestations are wont to o Tur. Sexuality in a young
child is in the subconscious, anc no knowledge of the mean-
ing of physical sensations exists in the brain of the infant.
Nevertheless, self-gratification, or auto-erotism, has been
noted in many instances in children of both sexes before
the age of three. These infantile experiences are apt to re-
echo throughout life. Analytical psychologists of our day
have asserted that the subconscious racial force in 'the child
may be heightened by undue caressing and fondling by un-
instructed parents and elders. It is therefore necessary to
avoid all the stimuli likely to intensify precocity. A few
typical instances of the arousing of the sex organs into
activity, taken from actual cases, may be given here for the
guidance of parents and teachers.
A little boy, long before the age of puberty, may experi-
ence pleasurable feelings associated with the sex organs.
Such feelings may be manifest while swarming up a pole, in
swinging, riding, and by other mechanical mean's. It must
not be supposed that gymnastics are erotic excitants in the
THE HOME TRAINING 129
majority of cases. Probably the very reverse is the truth.
But certain forms of stimulation in specific subjects may
produce unfamiliar and bewildering sensations. We must
not forbid swinging because one girl of six experiences for
the first time an unwonted feeling connected with the racial
organs. This form of healthful exercise may have no such
effect upon a hundred other children. It is, however,
supremely important that the parent should realise that
the capacity for these experiences exists in many young
children. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Lying in an overheated bed may stimulate prematurely
the sexual nerves of a boy or girl. Occasionally there is a
congestion of the blood vessels of the reproductive parts,
leading to turgescence or swelling. This may occur in the
case of the healthiest of children, and without any trace of
sexual thought. It is often a result of too hot baths, pos-
ture, warmth, stimulating foods or a full bladder. These
physical manifestations are apt to direct the attention to
the organs and may lead to handling. In this way the
habit of masturbation frequently begins in children who
have no inkling of sex matters.
Parents should know that the range of auto-erotism is
very wide. Masturbation or " self-abuse " is only one
form of the many phenomena. The sexual system is so
widely diffused that many apparently unrelated nerves and
organs may become erogenous centres. A sensation in the
skin of almost any part of the body may send a message to
the brain and arouse perturbation. It has been noted that
even the eye, under certain kinds of stimulation, may exhibit
an extraordinary sympathy with the reproductive apparatus.
Such affectability may be abnormal and excessive ; but the
existence of erogenous zones in parts of the body remote
from the sexual organs is a normal condition. The
purposive retention of the contents of the bowels, fairly
common among children, and often leading to obstinate
constipation, is stated to be a form of auto-erotic satisfaction.
The most active erotic spheres are the mucous mem-
branes of the lips, the vagina and the penis; but these
acutely sensitive parts are linked up with the whole nervous
system, the vital organs and the brain. We speak of loving
with the heart. The ancients regarded the liver as the seat
130 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
of amatory passion. No thoughtful person will dispute
that the love impulse causes a thrill to the innermost nerve
of the organism. A fervent kiss of affection stirs the very
deepest emotions of the soul as notably as it electrifies the
body. Love shows us great mysteries of psyche (mind or
spirit) and soma (body).
It is the duty of parents to acquaint their minds with
the general natural laws directing the continuance of the
race. They should know that sex is never absolutely
dormant from infancy to senescence. So keen is the zeal
of Nature for the perpetuation of the species that she has
contrived endless cunning devices for furthering reproduc-
tion. Nor is sex solely the means of replenishing the earth.
The sex or reproductive cells act and react upon the growth
or body cells. The secretions that make the race make the
unit, the man and the woman. A hardened ovary in the
woman affects her physical system, her brain, and her
emotional and intellectual being. The castrated man ex-
hibits bodily and mental and moral changes. An extract
from the pituitary gland, administered to a woman, may
produce remarkable results in child-birth, hastening and
easing parturition. The secretion from the thyroid
gland in the neck often governs human individual destiny.
Disorder of this organ may cause goitre, and it is well
known that the thyroid is affected during menstruation.
This sway of sex to the remotest quarters of the
body, with its dominance in the innermost recesses of
the conscious and subconscious mind, is a profound fact
of human life revealed by science. We cannot place the
activities of the generative cells as something apart from
the general activity of the body. The waning of sexual
vigour seems to influence the productivity of the brain.
Virility is an essential of mental efficiency and capacity
for intellectual energy. If the sex functions are performed
normally and healthily, there is a harmonious working of
the human machine.
It is apparent that parental care is vitally important
during the period of infancy and early childhood. When
it is understood that the natural spontaneous arousing of
sexuality is inevitable, those who are concerned for the
well-being of the young will refrain from stimulating this
THE HOME TRAINING 131
activity by injudicious excitants in diet, recreations and
s that evoke premature sensations in susceptible
children. Late hours arid over-excitement must be avoided.
Town life has a tendency to foster precocity in a child. It
would be well if all young children could spend most of their
time in the country, and be encouraged to live as much as
possible out of doors.
The risk of masturbation must be faced. This habit may
become excessive in very young children through irritation
in the external genital organs. Secretions from the
glans-penis in boys may cause smegma, which provokes
intense itching under the prepuce or foreskin. This
possibility should be recognised, and means employed for
keeping the glans clean. If a boy or girl is apt to touch
and rub the organs, some irritation should be suspected.
This is a serious matter demanding plain speech. Cir-
cumcision lessens the chances of irritation, and it is stated
to be a preventive of nocturnal enuresis or incontinence
of urine. It is supposed that the chances of bad habits
are lessened by directing boys to force back the prepuce
below the corona, and some parents, on medical advice,
encourage this practice. There is, however, in the opinion
of some persons, some risk in this preventive measure.
The necessary handling of the organ may give rise to
voluptuous feeling, and masturbation may result. Vecki
condemns this practice as very likely to produce the evil
that it is intended to prevent. 1 But it seems obvious that
the external parts in children of both sexes should be washed
regularly. Care is necessary lest undue concentration of
interest may be directed to the organs in childhood.
Besides the spontaneous and automatic arousal of sex
feeling, there are numerous external stimulations which
foster auto-erotic gratification. Bad example of playmates
is a common cause. Servants sometimes incite to these
habits by manipulations of quite young children. Ignorant
mothers in the lower classes have been known to use this
means to keep restless infants quiet. Overfeeding upon
stimulating foods may quicken the impulse. Clothing,
if tight around the genitalia, may cause irritation and con-
gestion. Heavy coverings on the bed cause restlessness
1 Sexual Impotence. Victor G. Vecki, M.D. Fourth edition, 1912.
132 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
and a flow of blood to the organs. Suggestion in conversa-
tion may act injuriously, especially in the case of acutely
intelligent children. The need for a reverent attitude to
sex is extremely urgent.
Girls are not less likely than boys to acquire the auto-
erotic habit through irritations, which occur in the vulva
and clitoris. The early wearing of stays is said to cause
precocious sexuality. When it is known that a degenerate
cult of tight corset- wearers exists in England, with a journal
devoted to their craze, the relation between tight lacing
and sex hyperaesthesia (heightened feeling) seems to be
well established. There are many reasons why the clothing
of girls should be as loose as possible.
The vague and unsuspected curiosity and the automatic
manifestations of the infantile stage are followed by a
period in which sex seems to be latent or dormant in the
child. This is the play age, when a number of engrossing
interests and activities absorb most of the energy of healthy
children. There may be a positive resistance to sexual
emotion in all forms. Boys begin to show a distaste for the
companionship of girls, and girls speak contemptuously of
boys. The boy seems anxious to escape from feminine
influence. He may tease his sisters and resist the maternal
rule. He wishes to break away from the mother's knee,
and he is wont to resent the control of both parents.
" Awkwardness " arises in both sexes during this pre-
pubertal development. Children " get a little out of
hand," and become " trying."
This stage is characterised by immense activity. Play
is vigorous, often to the point of extreme fatigue. There
is a desire to cast off all infantile restraints. The child
delights in being thought a big boy or a big girl. The
immature sentiment of companions who have attained
puberty is derided by the juvenile of nine to twelve. No-
thing bores the boy more than allusions to love and senti-
mentalism. Stories about lovers are rejected with intense
scorn. There is preoccupation with games and sports, a thirst
for exciting adventure, and a developing taste for hobbies.
THE HOME TRAINING 133
The inactivity of the sex cells at this period is apparently
necessary for the growth of the body or somatic cells.
Growth is rapid and the appetite almost insatiable. The
system calls for ample nutrition, and there is great expendi-
ture of physical force.
Although there is not an active consciousness of sex differ-
ences at this stage, the infantile impressions and influences
remain in the subconscious mind. These impressions re-
awaken strangely as puberty approaches. This third period
is even more important than the first. During the latent
cycle there has been a steady, graduated preparation for the
great awakening of pubescence.
The life of the girl in the dormant period is naturally like
that of the boy. Though she displays less muscular exuber-
ance, she is fond of romps and play. Her sex consciousness
slumbers in most normal instances ; but she may continue
to lavish care upon dolls, and express a mild interest in the
engagements or weddings of friends. She would like to
run wild and play as boys play ; but usually she is reminded
that the rough-and-tumble diversions of her brothers are
not proper for girls. As the female mind and body develop
more rapidly than the male, the girl is " older " than the
boy by what may be called a two years' start. She accumu-
lates more fatty tissue and less muscle than her brother.
Her inclination for robust exercises is often stronger than
her physical capacity. She tends to become anaemic or
chlorotic. Her emotionality is somewhat more marked
than that of the boy. She cries more readily, exhibits
more affectableness and is more liable to pique. These
tendencies are greatly accentuated by conventional nurture
at home and at school.
The crisis of puberty ushers in adolescence. Sex-awaken-
ing, arising from marked internal and external changes in
the body, accompanies the full birth of the psyche or spirit.
This period may be described as the novitiate for manhood
and womanhood. It is the age of wonder, dreams, longings,
instability, development and variation. In boys the period
begins about fifteen and in girls at about fourteen. At
134 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
twenty we say that a youth is reaching the adult age, and
at eighteen we regard the girl as a young woman.
Puberty in man is a stage on the journey to maturity,
marked chiefly by the new capacity for erotic emotion and
potency for the continuation of the race. There is some
change in bone structure. The mysterious thymus gland
vanishes. Organs of the throat develop and the tone of
the voice changes. Hair appears upon parts of the body.
There is growth of the organs of reproduction. The seed
of humanity begins to form in the seminal vessels and the
testicles, and the secretion plays its dual part in the upkeep
of the body and the generative function. This alteration
in the metabolism or chemistry of the body has an enormous
influence upon the brain and the emotions. The internal
secretions, mingling with the blood stream, arouse the soul
of man and woman. These hormones (arousers) are the
love-awakeners. From their activity springs that glorious
efflorescence, the love of the sexes and parental affection. 1
It has been discovered that lessened action of the pituitary
gland will induce infantile or arrested development of sex.
Thyroid affections may cause atrophy of the sexual organs.
Sex precocity has been related to a condition of the supra-
renal capsules. Puberty and body growth are probably
associated with the adrenal organ. From the ovary of the
woman is secreted a fluid that is essential for the general
healthy functioning of the body and for the immense
changes of the pubertal period. From the hormone of the
testicle are derived the influences that govern bone develop-
ment in young men. The cortex of the brain and the
organs of generation are mutually dependent upon one
another. Can any doubt remain that the whole bodily
system is involved in love and reproduction ?
When we have learned that the amorous, or strongly
sexed, woman is so by reason of a free ovarian secretion, and
that the potent and lusty man owes his idiosyncrasy to a
liberal testicular secretion, we have at least discovered that
a powerful erotic capacity is not in itself a sign of moral
inferiority, but a perfectly natural phenomenon. And the
possession of this knowledge is at least an indication to
persons thus endowed by nature that the conflict between
1 See chapter on Hygiene.
THE HOME TRAINING 135
innate desire and the observance of the moral sexual code
must be waged by them with reason and vigilance. We are
thus enabled by science to shape, temper and adapt our
ethical standards in the difficult question of sex ethics
and our attitude towards those who perplex us by their
The erotic excitement attendant upon puberty has fre-
quently no connection whatever with deliberate willing or
volition. Such excitement may occur in an entirely ignor-
ant child. In puberty the accumulation of seminal fluid
in the organs and the stirring of the internal hormones in
the brain often take a youth unawares and set up a novel
craving. The same must be said in the case of the ovarian
hormone in the maiden. This arousing is independent of
the will. It is not the voice of Satan, but the prompting
of Dame Nature. That the whisper may incite to Satanic
ends is perfectly true ; but the arousing is often unavoid-
This physiological stimulation is not of the same order as
the excitation arising from purposive thought of an erotic
character. The impotent man and the woman with ovarian
deficiency may be aroused, though the physical stimula-
tion is absent. Just as an abundance of sperm will cause
a message to the brain, and evoke longing, so will a thought
in the brain convey a message to the organs of sex. It often
happens that the psychic activity fails to produce response
in the sexual nerves. In these cases there is abnormality,
an under-sexed condition, or sexual neurasthenia.
The expulsion of semen during sleep, an occurrence that
greatly alarms a very considerable number of adolescents,
is a typical automatic phenomenon. Undoubtedly volup-
tuous dreams may be frequent, through dwelling upon
erotic fancies during the day ; but in many instances they
are entirely unsought and unwelcome. Deliberate self-
excitation during the waking hours is on a different plane.
In this case the action is volitional and determined by
As restraint upon the libido sexualis in mankind is
imperative for the security and welfare of the community,
the power of inhibition necessarily becomes highly developed
in the finer types. Individuals of a low quality of brain
136 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
development are frequently deficient in this power of
control, and in insanity it is often entirely absent. The
necessity for due inhibition must be impressed upon young
people in whom the instinct is strong, easily aroused and
It is essential, therefore, that the adolescent should
understand the physical and psychical inter-relation of the
erotic impulse, and this necessitates plain physiological
teaching at the right age. Hygienic counsel should be
given in reference to the stimuli arising from within. For
example, a youth should know that a full bladder is apt
to provoke tumescence, or engorgement, of the sex organs,
and that the excitation produced is not to be regarded
as a normal prompting of nature. There are postures
also, such as sleeping on the back, that cause sexual
tension. Pressure from clothing is another irritant and
may produce a condition of hypersesthesia of the genital
The psychic factors must be reckoned with. Highly
excitable adolescents should not permit frequent mental
preoccupation with amorous images, such as exciting
pictures and sensuous literature. That which may be quite
harmless for one type of young man or young woman may
be harmful for another. A wise parent or teacher will
strive to understand the diversity in idiosyncrasy, and to
direct the aesthetic taste in wholesome fields. But this
safeguarding should not savour of prudery, nor be exercised
in an arbitrary and drastic manner. Much immorality is
engendered by harsh severity and a bigoted condemnation.
The free social intercourse of adolescent boys and girls
is wholesome and prophylactic. Segregation of the sexes
breeds morbidities, heightens sex curiosity, and intensifies
cravings. Friendships between the sexes in youth are to
be encouraged. Early love may have a restraining and
elevating influence, even though evanescent, for in adoles-
cence there is a tendency to spiritualise and idealise the
passion that attracts the sexes one to the other, and the
more sensuous elements are in abeyance. Pre-conjugal
chastity is more often observed by the romantic young
man who falls fervently and seriously in love than by his
THE HOME TRAINING 137
That sexual intercourse in adolescent males is far from
being exceptional is shown by the fact that a large number
of young men contract gonorrhcea before the adult age.
This affection is often present in girls who do not make
mercenary connections, and are sometimes looked upon as
entirely innocent of sexual irregularity. Singular ignorance
exists, even among youths who mix freely in varied com-
pany, concerning venereal diseases ; and a large number
of girls, from whom all knowledge of sex has been cautiously
obscured, know nothing whatever of the existence of this
danger. In country districts many adolescent girls are
quite ignorant in this respect, and they are not infrequently
infected by strangers from the towns.
Athletics, sports, hobbies, friendships and congenial
study or work that engrosses are counter-excitants tending
to the preservation of chastity. There is no doubt that
certain occupations in youth may induce desire. Sedentary
work is often provocative through insufficient expenditure
of physical force. Over-study may excite. A medical
man tells me that while " cramming " for an examination
in his young days he was surprised to find himself in a
constant condition of erethism. During anxiety about
passing examinations there is often broken sleep, feverish-
ness and tension, producing sexual excitement In some
instances. It is indeed extremely difficult to expel or
avoid all the stimuli from the lives of the ardent and vigor-
ous. As Stanley Hall indicates, these incitements are
manifold, insidious, and liable to prove intrusive during
the very period when we need all our vital force for the
struggle for existence.
The lack or insufficiency of outdoor exercise has much to
answer for in the production of heightened and perverse
sex feeling. Vecki ranks this want of outdoor life as one
of the leading causes of masturbation. Sluggishness of
body leaves us exposed to undue urging of the sexual
instinct, whereas muscular activity uses up a large part of
vitality. Ancient wisdom represented the chaste Diana
as a huntress. I have already referred to the imperative
need for more healthful recreation in the open air, and a
shortening of the hours consumed in the fight for subsist-
ence. There is little doubt that the unhealthy nervous
138 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
overstrain of sedentary and city life accentuates morbid
Quite well-meaning parents still persist in the practice
of corporal punishment, through an ignorance of its poten-
tiality for evil. Chastisement on the bare body is a form
of satisfaction sought by a large number of sex perverts
in all the civilised nations. This voluntary endurance of
pain for the obtaining of pleasure is one of the forms of the
perversion classified as Masochism or algolagnia. Masoch,
an Austrian novelist, has related his own experiences of this
pleasure-pain, and whipping is a fashionable vice of most
large cities in Europe. Rousseau states that he sought
this punishment from his governess after discovering its
attraction. Many cases of algolagnia are recorded by
writers on the abnormal psychology of sex.
In spite of the large weight of scientific authority and
the growing view of educational reformers, we continue to
employ the rod for the correction of youth in the home and
the school. " This brutally empiric aphrodisiac," as Dr
Vecki terms it, is a relic of past ignorance and violence.
There is no doubt that in the case of susceptible boys
flogging on the nates or the back arouses the nerves of the
spinal cord that cause sexual desire. Even the witnessing
of flogging has this result in some persons. Ample testi-
mony to this is to be found in the scientific discussions of
the question, and in the annals of cruelty and torture in
all ages. The region involved in flagellation is supplied
with the same nerve as the sexual region. Hence the
probability of stimulation.
Besides the resulting risk of auto-erotic practice attending
upon flogging, there is the danger that a latent predisposi-
tion to Masochism may be aroused, and flagellomania may
become a confirmed passion.
The effect of performing castigation has also been con-
sidered by expert psychologists, and it is well known that
some eminent birching pedagogues have been victims of
morbid obsession. Ellis cites the instance of Udall, an Eton
headmaster, celebrated for his frequent use of the birch,
who admitted gross conduct with his pupils. It is probably
THE HOME TRAINING 139
certain that the huge majority of those who employ bodily
punishment do so with the sincere conviction that their
means are beneficial to children ; and it is not to be sup-
posed that many ardent disciplinarians find pleasure in
imposing pain which is deemed necessary. Moreover, the
average parent and teacher know nothing of the risks
which have been pointed out. They follow with good
faith an old and time-respected tradition of juvenile
If parents were better equipped for observing childish
traits and hidden propensities, they would learn that many
children show what seems to be abnormal interest in the
subject of whipping. In three personal records of the de-
velopment of the sex instinct out of twelve, sent to Havelock
Ellis, the writers allude to their juvenile attraction to this
topic. I have met both men and women who recall this
preoccupation of childhood. Children frequently play at
whipping one another. Krafft-Ebing gives the instance of
a woman who was playfully whipped by a man friend of her
father at the age of five. " Since then she has always
longed to be caned." In some cases self-flagellation is
practised. Reverdun, a Swiss alienist, recounts the in-
stance of a girl patient who made a formidable whip with
twelve lashes for flogging herself.
We are led by a great mass of scientific evidence to the
conclusion that in the case of some children, if not of all,
there is an element of menace in the infliction of corporal
chastisement. It is doubtful whether the stick has ever
sharpened the dull wits of a born dunce, or quickened
normal discernment in the brain of a mental defective.
The disciplinary value of castigation is doubtful in almost
all cases, though Professor Stanley Hall, a leading authority
on the education of the young, thinks that such correction
may be beneficial in the case of some types of boys.
While there has been a tendency in the past to exaggerate
the evils arising from masturbation, modern M-imtific
opinion remains divided as to tin* dr-give of harmful i:
auto-erotic practices. Some eminent medical investigators
140 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
have been unable to trace any serious nervous consequences
in instances of moderate indulgence, though they condemn
the habit upon moral and aesthetic grounds. Other physi-
cians of high standing attribute neurasthenic symptoms,
impotence, disinclination for normal intercourse and minor
Some writers believe that neurasthenia may be a result
of excess, and others ascribe dullness of brain in the young,
physical listlessness and heightened emotionableness. The
gross over-statements of a past school of medical and
ethical writers have been exposed by a number of contem-
porary authorities; and it has been repeatedly stated in
recent years, by general practitioners, neurologists and
psychiatrists, that the extravagant and highly alarming pro-
nouncements of unscientific, though often well-intentioned,
writers have produced some of the very results attributed
to the practice itself. 1
The possible injuries resulting from masturbation are
mostly of a moral and emotional character. Careful re-
search proves that this excitation and nervous taxation in
adolescence is harmful. If the habit is begun in childhood,
before the actual virile age, -weakening of the nervous
system may be the penalty. One of the chief risks of auto-
erotism is the fact that indulgence can be far more frequent
than sexual intercourse. The opportunities are always
present and the chances of extreme excess are high. Bloch,
who is not disposed to the extremist view, states, neverthe-
less, that " solitary vice influences the psyche and the
character in the mere child." He traces moroseness,
hypochondria, shyness, and love of solitude to inveterate
self -gratification. Some authorities attribute neurasthenic
signs and restless, high-strung symptoms to the habitual
The formation of the habit sometimes induces a distaste
for marriage. It is apt to foster misogyny in man and
misanthropy in woman. Some masturbators seem incap-
1 Reference may be made to Havelock Ellis, Studies in the
Psychology of Sex; Bloch, The Sexual Life of Our Time ; Northcote,
Christianity and Sex Problems ; Stanley Hall, A dolescence ; Robie,
Rational Sex Ethics ; Gallichan, Psychology of Marriage ; Bigelow,
Sex Education ; Forel, The Sexual Question.
THE HOME TRAINING 141
able of falling in love in a natural manner ; and those who
have wasted their power and nervous force experience
dread lest they may be unable to consummate wedlock
The practice renders some young men blase and cynical,
and causes some women to adopt an attitude of false
modesty towards the sexual side of conjugality. There is
the possibility of a disinclination for normal intercourse.
Capacity for normal satisfaction may cease in both sexes,
and in this abnormality we have the root of several forms
of sex perversion. Psychic recoils against the ordinary ex-
pression and satisfaction are induced. The extraordinary
is craved. Abnormal ideas develop and lead to abnormal
practices. Perversity in this respect may shatter the
chances of a harmonious marriage. The imagination is
wont to exercise itself upon bizarre forms of sexual pleasure,
and when the mind has dwelt for long upon such images
confirmed perversions of a disastrous character may be the
Besides the too constant stimulation of the genital
system, there is the mental and moral conflict, which is
rarely absent among the educated and higher types of man
and woman. The struggle between the insistent force of
the desires, often rendered excessive by indulgence, and
the ethical or religious sense, may become intolerable.
Remorse for this practice has caused some of the intensest
mental suffering known to humanity. Sometimes there is
an acute self-loathing and a weariness of life. Attempts
are made to destroy the habit, and each lapse from con-
tinence brings dire contrition and a sense of despair. Revolt
against the normal love of the sexes and a reaction against
the sexual scheme of nature are common consequences.
There may be an exalted profession of purity, chastity and
spirituality in those whose imagination is steeped in sensu-
ality. The prudery of the masturbator is sometimes a
social menace, for his or her views upon the subject of sex
are unbalanced, deeply prejudiced and distorted.
Love, tenderness, sympathy and understanding are the
means that should be used in aiding the sufferer to overcome
the propensity. A conversation with a tactful and intelli-
gent physician may be helpful. All " scare literature "
142 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
must be avoided. Sometimes the acquisition of a little
knowledge of the part played by sex in human destiny gives
enlightenment, explains difficulties and temptations, and
inspires control. Psychoanalysis, as practised by the new
school of mental therapy, is the best method of treatment
for sex obsessions, aberrations and complexes. Little
reliance can be placed upon the employment of drugs or
hygiene alone. The cure must be attempted through the
mind. Full, open confession to a sympathetic psycho-
analyst may work wonders when other methods have failed.
Puberty in girls is marked by alterations in the bony
framework, notably in the pelvis and the lower part of
the spinal column. There are muscular development and
growth of the breasts. The womb and the ovaries enlarge,
and there are changes in the structure of the external parts
of reproduction. Psychic development is equally remark-
able. New emotions are likely to perplex the mind, and
there are variability, instabilitj', restlessness and quick
transitions of mood. Religion may appeal deeply. An
enthusiasm for art, for study or for philanthropic activity
may suddenly appear.
Attention should now be devoted by the mother to the
fresh demands of nature upon the girl merging from child-
hood to reproductive capability. The " mimic pregnancy "
of menstruation is an occurrence for which the girl should
be rationally prepared by the mother. It is unnecessary
to reiterate the numerous risks to health of mind and body
that are likely to be encountered when girls are uninformed
as to the purpose and the normality of the monthly crisis.
To guard against the probability of hysteria, nervous ail-
ment, sex repugnance and derangements of the ovarian
and uterine system, every girl should receive plain physio-
logical and hygienic counsel. This teaching should be
supplemented by conversation upon the ethical and social
aspects of love, marriage and parentage.
The functions of the body can be guided in regularity by
intelligent care during adolescence. Much abnormality
and disorder of menstruation is avoidable. Over-exertion
THE HOME TRAINING 143
at the period is always risky, and irregularity may result
from insufficient exercise between the cycles. The attitude
of mind towards the periodic manifestation of the ripening
of the ovum has influence upon the right performance of
function. There should not be any disgust at this process.
Its great racial significance should be made plain, and the
function treated with a sane respect as a symbol of the
eternal generative energy of nature.
It is at the period of the monthly rhythm that a girl's
sex emotion is likely to be acutely aroused for the first time.
This natural prompting is rarely understood by girls who
have been brought up without the vaguest enlightenment.
We have noted that the mingling of the hormone of the
ovaries with the blood influences the brain and the psyche.
It should be known that this periodic arousing of hitherto
inexperienced emotion may expose an ignorant young woman
Seduction usually overcomes the ill-prepared victims at
the period when the brain is eroticised. Moreover, it has
been ascertained that auto-erotic obsessions frequently
accompany the menstrual cycle. Furthermore, lapses into
error, misdemeanour and crim: are frequent when normal
control is lessened by the physical and psychic ordeal. We
may state broadly that the girl is often " not quite herself "
while undergoing this periodic process. For the manifesta-
tions of menstruation are not simply local and physical.
They affect the whole organism, to a greater or a less extent,
according to constitution and habit.
When a girl has been forewarned concerning this recur-
rent slackening of inhibition, she is at least prepared to
exert increased control. If irritability, depression or dis-
content cannot be banished entirely by those prone to
these trials, they may be partially repressed by a strong
effort of will. It is at least essential that a young woman
should be aware of the difficulties which she may be com-
pelled to face during the process of the maturation of the
ovum in the womb. As Dr Mary Scharlieb and other
women physicians have pointed out, this phenomenon
should not be " a most alarming incident " in a girl's life,
but a significant and hopeful happening.
The risks of unchastity in the girl are fewer than in the
144 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
case of the boy that is to say, if by " unchastity " we
connote irregular intercourse of the sexes. But it is the
view of a considerable number of investigators with wide
medical experience that auto-erotism is even more preva-
lent amongst girls than boys. One reason for this view
must be attributed to the fact that many adolescent males
find gratification in temporary liaisons and in prostitution.
Another factor is the wider diffusion of the sexual sphere
or erogenic zones in the female sex. It has often been re-
peated that the area of sensitivity is localised in man. In
woman there is much greater tendency to the transference
of the zones to various parts of the body, especially the
skin, the breasts, the urethra and other regions enumerated
by sexual physiologists. From the evidence collected from
women, the range of auto-erotic excitation is wider in the
female sex than in the male. Ellis thinks that " after
adolescence there can be no doubt that masturbation is
more common in women than in men."
Several observers have noticed the frequency of erotic
day-dreaming among young women, which is indulged in
for the purpose of gratification. Professor Maurice Bigelow
says that this is probably more harmful than mechanical
means, and that "it is believed to be more common in
young women than in men." The ingenuity of women in
all civilised countries for devising auto-erotic satisfactions
is a remarkable fact in the psychology of sex. 1 Masturba-
tion is not only the practice of civilised races ; it is prevalent
among savages of some tribes and may be regarded as
almost universal. Under civilisation there is a tendency
for the habit to increase and spread, through the additional
stimuli, deferred marriage, example and suggestion.
As in the case of boys, the sedentary lives led by many
girls, and occupational factors, foster auto-erotism. It has
been proved that the treadle sewing machine produces sex
excitement in some women. Constipation has been sug-
gested as a source of irritation. A rich diet and an idle life
are likely to arouse erethism. Overheated rooms, loung-
ing, lack of interests and amusements, and reading inflam-
matory love stories induce erotic fancies in the brain. A
1 See records byEllis, Bloch, Rohleder and Gamier among other
THE HOME TRAINING 145
suitable alternation of work and play, and spells of rest, are
necessary for the health of the adolescent girl.
ess of sentimentality should be avoided in the up-
bringing of girls. Broadly speaking, it is advantageous to
harden girls and to soften boys. In some cases the feminine
traits are over-developed in girls, and many boys would be
better for the inculcation of a sense of pity and tenderness.
It is the sentimental, impressionable temperaments that
are most prone to auto-erotism. We must not presuppose
that this tendency is only found among the coarse-fibred
and the highly sensual. It is especially notable in the
artistic, the poetic, the spiritually disposed and the refined
natures. Such types, through the vividness of the imagina-
tion, and often through an inherited amative disposition,
are more exposed to temptations and more susceptible
to suggestion than the phlegmatic, the unimaginative and
All moral counsel regarding this practice must be judi-
ciously tempered with a sympathetic understanding of
human nature, and especially of juvenile human nature. We
who have passed through the fires of youthful passion should
never forget our perils. Harsh condemnation and severe
threats and punishments rarely, if ever, succeed. These
methods encourage more or less resentment, create a spirit
of distrust, and lessen or annihilate good feeling between
parent and child. The " emotional psychic " appeal is the
most effective. All the advantages of retaining vigour of
body and brain should be rehearsed, and young people
should be told that any tampering with the vital force in
youth is likely to impair the joy and the peace of conjugal
love. A spirit of idealism may be instilled into the majority
of adolescents by fine example, by broad-minded, tolerant
precept, and by praise for sincere endeavour in fine living.
THE lack of sex guidance during school life has very serious
results upon the individual and society. A boy or a girl is
sent from the sheltered home to form one of a community
composed of all types and shades of character. For several
months of each year there is a severance from parental
control. The young pupil is thrown among the good and
the bad, and is exposed to both favourable and detrimental
influences. Often the most attractive companions are not
the best associates for youth. An older comrade may im-
plant ideas and set examples that will colour the whole of a
junior boy's career.
There is no doubt considerable variety in the tone and
moral atmosphere of the average boarding-schools and
public colleges. Certain schools of both classes have a
doubtful reputation, while others appear to be comparatively
immune from evil influences. If we question those men of
our acquaintance who are willing to discuss the matter and
to recall episodes in their school life, we shall find that a few
have no very distinct recollection of pernicious conversation
or bad practice, while others gravely assure us that their
first lessons in vice were learnt during tutelage in schools
and colleges of a high reputation as institutions of learning.
If disordered sexuality and perversions are rampant in
certain boys' schools, we have not to seek far for the causes.
The school period is the period preceding and during the
development of puberty. It is the time when erotic
emotion is coming into consciousness. The physical changes
of this cycle are usually a source of curiosity, and the ac-
companying influences stimulate to inquiry and experience.
Talk upon sexual topics is almost certain to arise when a
number of boys are crowded together day and night for
THE SCHOOL 147
three months at a spell. The wonder and the speculation
rarely receive rational satisfaction. Sex is regarded as an
i lie attitude is either grossly phallic, or
pornographic, or flippant, ignorant and vulgar.
There are usually one or two boys in the majority of
schools who affect a wide knowledge of sex matters. This
knowledge is not wholesome and rational. It is a com-
pound of shame and indecency. It is from such sources
that the mass of our sons obtain their early sexual
" instruction." The common gutter words for the sex
organs and the union of the sexes are employed, and there
is a hideous besmirching of that which should be regarded
as beautiful and sacred. Example by a lewd-minded boy
stimulates a desire to vie in telling improper stories, and
gradually a whole dormitory or an entire school may be-
come permeated with obscenity.
The laws directing public morals prevent me from giving,
even in an expurgated form, the anecdotes, rhymes and
jests that were rife in my schooldays. I have never dis-
covered the authors of the thousands of gross, and often
very unsavoury, tales and jokes that are told daily through-
out almost the whole of society. There are evidently
brains that devote considerable pains to this exercise.
Familiarity with sex matters, through foolish and frivol-
ous conversation, threatens most boys and a considerable
number of girls. Indecent allusion to the intimacies of the
sexes sets up prurience and incites to experimentation in
vicious practice. This disrespect may become the habitual
attitude and last during the whole of life. Men and women
who describe sex as " dirty " or " nasty " are generally
those whose minds have been tainted and injured in child-
hood. The purifying influence of true love, based on respect
for womanhood, may mitigate the effects of this early
tarnishing of the mind. It has been pointed out to me by
an Oxford professor that the pornographic propensity may
accompany a spiritualised conception of sexual love. This
may be possible in the case of some minds ; but obscenity
seems scarcely compatible with a noble sex idealism and a
true reverence for whatsoever things are pure.
There is no doubt that concentration upon pleasures of
an erotic character leads to solitary and mutual masturba-
148 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
tion in schools. The young are naturally exposed to inner
or peripheral irritations. All other stimulations should
be avoided as far as possible. The mind absorbed with
libidinous thoughts is not in a wholesome condition, and
there is the danger that the ideas may become vehement
and obsessional. In youth it is well if thought concerning
sex is dispassionate and not preoccupied with the voluptu-
ous element. The school environment frequently blunts
the finer sensibilities of boys, damages the intellectual out-
look upon the love of the sexes, and fosters inclinations that
will seek for gratification in later life.
In a sad, private communication which I have received
from a young man educated in one of our leading public
schools, the writer refers to the various forms of sensuality
which are prevalent, and attaches his present habits and
his unhappiness to this influence. 1
The statement of the Rev. Lord William Gascoyne-Cecil
is illuminating : "I had an experience in one of our great
public schools which I am certain I can never wish anyone to
^mdergo. As a boy I was immersed in an atmosphere of filth
and foulness which was blacker than any I have known later,
or that I have reason to believe exists in England. " 2
A correspondent writing to Havelock Ellis says : " The
dormitory was boisterous and lewd. . . . My principal
recollection now is of the filthy mystery of foul talk that I
neither cared for nor understood. What I really needed,
like all other boys, was a little timely help over the sexual
problems, but this we none of us got, and each had to work
out his own principle of conduct for himself. It was a long,
difficult and wasteful process, and I cannot but believe that
many of us failed in the endeavour."
Some loose-minded boys find a perverse delight in
questioning younger companions concerning their sexual
knowledge and in imparting lewd ideas. In my youth the
new-comer at school was often asked if he was " up to snuff,"
which was the slang form of inquiry concerning his acquaint-
ance with the physical relations of the sexes and the
mysteries of reproduction. If the boy confessed ignorance
he was speedily supplied with vulgar and graphic descrip-
1 See also Hime's Schoolboys' Special Immorality.
1 The Nation's Morals. Cassell, Loncjou.
THE SCHOOL 140
tions, accompanied by low jests and laughter. Some of the
stories of schoolboys are of a repulsive and scatalogic type,
invoking disesteem for the human body and a false attitude
towards natural functions. Nothing is sacred to the mind
imbued with indecency.
This flippant regard for sex greatly complicates the
important task of rational enlightenment. As we have all
been more or less exposed to this early influence, it is often
difficult to obliterate the sense of shame, disgust and recoil
from the mind of the adult. We encounter " educated "
persons, even a fair number of teachers, who announce that
the whole subject is " beastly " or " unpleasant." Yet
Stanley Hall says this should be considered one of the most
beautiful of all subjects for the instructor of youth. When
boys are accustomed to the obscene and vulgar estimates
of sexuality, the work of the teacher is rendered extremely
difficult. In class teaching of biology there is even the fear
that one ignorant boy may incite to giggles, or infuse an
element of prudishness. A medical friend, who is zealous
for the enlightenment of the young, tells me that he would
fear to illustrate the racial organs and explain them to a
class of adolescents lest he might incur the risk of arousing
furtive mirth in some of the pupils.
The moral tone of the school is largely dependent upon
the attitude of the principal towards the sex question.
In another chapter will be found communications from
headmasters upon the instruction of the young. Some of
our teachers are clerics, and it is a lamentable fact that very
many clergymen shirk or suppress topics of sex. Appar-
ently they are of the opinion that clean knowledge of re-
productive processes, sex physiology, sex hygiene and sex
ethics do not come within the scope of moral and spiritual
guidance. I have heard of a headmaster of a Public School
who expressed great astonishment when he discovered that
a not uncommon practice of boys, writing obscene words
on walls, existed among some of his pupils.
It should be clearly understood that religious influences
per se are not sufficient for the direction of adolescents in
150 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
the higher conduct of the sexual life. In schools where
attendance at chapel is imperative and the religious atmos-
phere is of paramount importance, there is not always
convincing testimony to clean thinking and decent conduct
among the pupils. It is undeniable that religion is often
a restraining force. On the other hand, the connection
between religious emotionability and the racial instinct has
been established beyond any question. Sincere piety
may be a means of sublimation, and no one can doubt that
faith is in some cases a safeguard of youth.
Archdeacon Wilson, in Essays and Addresses, writes :
" The boys whose temperament specially exposes them to
these faults are usually far from destitute of religious
feelings ; there is, and always has been, an undoubted co-
existence of religiosity and animalism ; emotional appeals
and revivals are very far from rooting out carnal sin ; in
some places they seem actually to stimulate even in the
present day, to increased licentiousness."
Again, we have the testimony of Dr Elizabeth Blackwell
(Counsel to Parents) that auto-erotic manifestations are
" observable in refined, intellectual and even pious persons."
Canon Lyttelton makes a similar statement.
We must recognise that the aptitude for religious fervour
is not evinced by the majority of boys. Stanley Hall has
found, from careful inquiry, that few lads are genuinely
inspired by the example of Jesus Christ. The very divinity
of Jesus places His character above the human level in the
estimate of very many young people. The boy's ideal hero
is a purely human figure. It is a fact also that most boys
resent compulsory attendance at worship and services.
I have questioned many boys upon this matter, and there
is little doubt indeed that religious exercises are apt to be
regarded as irksome. In natures attuned to the influence
of religion there will be a natural responsiveness. But it
is often necessary to appeal to the moral sense by means
not necessarily associated with theological beliefs and
orthodox dogmas. Light comes to the soul through more
than one window.
Pious precept may fall upon sterile soil. But the same
soil may be fertilised by biological knowledge and practical,
helpful moral counsel. A religious instinct may exist in
THE SCHOOL 151
a child vvlio appears resistant to the conventional church
teaching. Idealism can be aroused by human suggestion.
It is necessary to discriminate in temperamental bias.
Can it be supposed that the average, boisterous, adventur-
ous schoolboy can be transformed into a saintly being by
merely sending him to chapel twice a day ? A far more
elaborate and subtle method is essential if we would
spiritualise our boys.
The clerical pedagogue who thinks that he has fully
appreciated his responsibility towards youth by pulpit
preaching and the enforced attendance at services may
have utterly failed in one of his supreme duties. If a head-
master is " not interested in sex," he can only be feebly
interested in humanity itself.
If he considers that the classical languages and mathe-
matics represent a truly " liberal education," he is out of
touch with the most vital of human affairs. The principal
of a school has the solemn charge of a number of young
people at one of the most critical periods in their bodily,
mental and moral development. At the crisis when new
and mysterious forces of the soma and psyche are becom-
ing palpable, and often insistently present in consciousness,
every individual lad requires discerning direction in the
right path. This guidance cannot be neglected by the
conscientious teacher. It is not enough for him to say
this is entirely the duty of parents. He should know that
the great majority of parents neglect their duty in this
respect. Masters should co-operate, as a few are now
doing, with parents in the task of educational guidance in
Sex education is one of the fundamentals of moral
instruction in school life. Individual, social and racial
welfare depends upon sex morality and hygiene. No one
can be a good citizen, founder of a family and competent
parent without an appreciation of the importance of the
sway of the sexual ijistinct in the progressive development
of the higher organisms and in mankind. The separation
of the sex life from the other vital activities is impossible.
Love is the origin and the mainspring of 1 fe.
Science masters who omit embryology and reproduction
from the curriculum may be said to devita ise education.
152 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
Huxley's otherwise excellent manual of Physiology, from
which all reference to the generative system was omitted,
remains as a landmark in tutelary inefficiency. We are
now learning that sexual physiology can be taught as a part
of general physiology.
Every year brings evidence that the scientific reformers
in pedagogics, physicians and clergymen are beginning to
realise the need for enlightening the adolescent in the laws
of the continuance of life. Our new sexual ethics must be
founded upon biology, physiology and psychology, and not
upon misguiding conjecture, ancient superstitions derived
from barbaric minds, and the theories of archaic fantasy-
thinking. It is the duty of the educationalist to collect
all available data that may assist him in educating his
pupils in a finer esteem for the force that underlies the vital
urge or elan vital.
What shall be our method of training the young in the
science of sex ? After the rudimentary or preparatory in-
struction in the home, should the boy or girl receive class
instruction in the school ? Upon this question there is con-
siderable difference of view among teachers who recognise
the need for imparting knowledge. Professors Geddes
and Thomson, who have insistently advocated sex educa-
tion, are of the opinion that the more precise and scientific
information must be given in schools. They do not approve
of "a doctrinaire scheme of instruction, coercively im-
posed from without." We must first consult the child and
attempt to understand his idiosyncrasy and point of view.
The scheme outlined by these earnest sociologists con-
sists in the opening out of wide interests in adolescence, the
encouragement of play and legitimate adventure, and by
disciplines in sports and exercise that promote endurance.
Such education in hardness is, to some extent, a develop-
ment of the primitive rites of initiation at puberty, described
by several anthropologists. This preparation for man-
hood and womanhood may be made impressive. Conjoined
with this vent for activity, there should be a development
of the ethical and imaginative faculties, a fostering of
chivalry, self-control, mutual respect between the sexes,
THE SCHOOL 153
and healthy-mindedness. In actual teaching Professors
Geddes and Thomson remind the instructor that " what is
to be suggested is that mystery is observed because sex
is sacred, not because it is shameful." This is a supremely
valuable counsel for all educators.
From botanical lessons the teacher should pass on to
zoology. The hygienic and moral guidance may be en-
trusted to headmasters or the school physician. In every
case education must be carefully differentiated. It is
necessary that full parental assent to this instruction shall
be gained. In the training of girls there must be regard to
differences in the male and female mental and emotional
outlook. The instruction of girls should be " gentler "
than that of their brothers. 1
Professor Maurice Bigelow, in his Sex Education, states
that adolescent girls of fourteen to sixteen should know the
general plan of their own sexual structure. " The worth-
whileness of chastity " should be pointed out by contrast-
ing the good and evil. Books upon sexual physiology and
health should be frank and direct. " At present there are
no thoroughly satisfactory books for adolescent boys and
Dr W. F. Robie recommends the emotional appeal in
safeguarding the young, and states the need for a much
wider knowledge among those who should be responsible
for sex education. 2 Maria Lischnewska, one of the pioneers
of sexual pedagogics, advises information in the fertilisation
of plants and the reproduction of fish and birds, beginning
in the eighth year. Later, the teaching should be extended,
and rudimentary embryology and the function of repro-
duction may be taught. At puberty there should be in-
struction in the development of the sex instinct and careful
Professor Iwan Bloch supplements his citation of the views
of teachers with his own conclusions. He would have
children of ten taught the natural history of the reproduc-
tive process, and graduated explanation up to the age of
fourteen. "The principal aim is to strengthen the char-
!See Sex. Patrick Geddes and J. Arthur Thomson. Williams
& Norgate. is. 6d.
1 Rational Sex Ethics. Badger, Boston, U.S.A.
154 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
acter, to induce the habit of self-command and self-denial
by a profound and intimate grasp of sexual problems."
There must be a guarding against sex stimuli in youth.
" Discipline, work, abstinence, bodily hygiene, are the
means for educating the character, and these also play
the principal part in sexual pedagogy." 1
Havelock Ellis is in favour of the broadest possible sexual
education, judiciously administered in relation to age and
sex. He thinks that the mother is the natural teacher in
early childhood. She must be able to speak " with frank-
ness and tenderness." The real facts of the sex life are
" as wonderful as any fairy tale." There can be no diffi-
culty in arousing an intelligent interest in the young.
But facts, not fancies, must be instilled. The preparatory
instruction need not be technical, but conveyed in intimate
talks between parent and child. There should be a
reverential attitude towards the racial organs.
Ellis plainly recognises the difficulty attending formal
school education in sex subjects. We are, in so many
instances, reared in the pernicious tradition that " sex
matters are filthy " that a large proportion of parents
protest against their children learning " filthy knowledge."
Under democratic conditions, the teacher's task is im-
possible. Ellis fears that the introduction of physiological
teaching upon sex, even in an unobtrusive form, into the
average school in England will prove a very slow reform.
It will be seen, however, from some of the communications
that I have received from teachers that there are indica-
tions of a progressive movement in the direction of sane
education in schools. The European War has aroused us
to the need for many social reforms. Specific sex prob-
lems, often of an alarming kind, have arisen from this
conflict ; and in this matter, as in others of constant im-
portance, we have been impelled to inquiry and to organised
action. That which has been for long obvious to a few
reflective men and women is beginning to assume some
significance in a fairly large number of minds.
Havelock Ellis suggests botanical instruction as a first
step in sex teaching. From this study of the reproduction
of plants the pupil passes to the natural history of animals,
1 The Sexual Life of Our Time.
THE SCHOOL 155
an'l to human anatomy and physiology. " The text-books
from which the sexual system is entirely omitted ought no
longer to be tolerated." The attitude of the young mind
towards the human body is considered by Ellis as highly
important in sexual training. He believes that there is a
spiritual value in nakedness, or, as Bloch expresses it,
" a natural conception of nakedness."
Undoubtedly disesteem for the body is a source of sin.
There should be a sane acceptance of the plain facts of
organisation and function. It is a sign of degeneration that
" the clothed man sees in the uncovered body only a sensual
irritation." The prudery in regard to statuary is an instance
of our decline from natural simplicity. As Ellis states,
" familiarity with the sight of the body abolishes petty
pruriencies, trains the sense of beauty, and makes for the
health of the soul." Maria Lischnewska deploring " the
horror of the civilised man at his own body," finds therein
one of the roots of the prejudice against wholesome sexual
The valuation of the noble human body was wellnigh
impossible in the days when St Bernard spoke of man " as
nothing else than fetid sperm, a sack of dung, the food of
worms," and "a dunghill." To-day such a description of
the " human form divine " would not be tolerated, except
by a few morbid and disordered minds. But such con-
ceptions still linger vaguely, if not positively, in many
" civilised " brains. Hence abuse of the bodily organs,
neglect of hygiene, scanty regard to aesthetic development
and uncleanness. The task of counteracting the injurious
disrespect for the body is part of the duty of parent and
tutor. Those who deem the body vile are apt to use it
vilely. There is little hope for purity in the sex life till
we have banished contempt for the human body.
The Rev. Hugh Northcote asserts that " religious tench-
ing will not in any case do all that is required " in directing
the sex impulse. This writer insists that " ethical respon-
sibility is an essential element of sex psychology " ; but
he expresses the fear that " an unscientific, poorly informed
hortatory teaching, seeking to arm itself with the aegis of
Christianity," is likely to be as dangerous as a non-ethical
science of sex. Northcote advises conversations with the
156 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
family physician ; and instruction by enlightened school-
masters and clergymen should follow parental counsels.
The question of the desirability of class instruction must
be considered cautiously. Such teaching is in the initial
stage of trial in America, Canada, Scandinavia, Switzerland
and France. The instruction is conveyed by lectures
given by teachers trained in the subject to separate
audiences of boys and girls. Reproduction is explained
by the fertilisation of plants and zoology. Some teachers
supplement the biological teaching by hygienic and moral
In the United States and Canada class instruction has
proved beneficial, and the system will probably become
more generally adopted in the near future. It is not an
easy task for the instructor to speak explicitly upon the
intimate relations of the sexes to an ordinary school class.
Many teachers flinch from necessary plain speaking in
public. The instruction in class presents obvious diffi-
culties. But how can adequate teaching be given individu-
ally in a college of a hundred or more boys or girls ? For
the present, until a saner, more detached attitude of mind
takes the place of shame, resistance and bashfulness, it
seems only possible, in most cases, to impart general know-
ledge of biology and embryology to classes of boys or girls.
We may wish that the obstacles to class teaching could be
banished by a common-sense appreciation of the intrinsic
cleanness of the subjects of sexual physiology and repro-
dution ; but the resistance and the timidity are very deep-
rooted, and we cannot hope to eradicate them rapidly.
In teaching those who are the heirs of a long ancestral fear,
derived from primitive brains, we are compelled to proceed
slowly and carefully.
The first and probably the principal effort is to purge f
the minds of parents and pupils from irrational and un-'
worthy concepts of sex. Until we have educed the right
spirit and the fitting receptivity of mind it would be rash
to unfold suddenly or violently the inner mysteries of a
subject regarded by many as esoteric, and by a considerable
THE SCHOOL 157
number as improper. The preliminary stage of sexual
pedagogy seems to involve a mental catharsis, a complete
expulsion of hostile, or at least hindering, preconceptions
and prejudices. It is quite probable that the proper
attitude to the topic will develop during the study of plant
reproduction and illustration of the development of sex as
we rise in the scale of animal evolution. We may be said
to be safe while the teaching is concerned with botany.
It is when we attempt to explain human reproduction that
difficulties may arise in a class of boys or girls influenced
by the ordinary home nurture. There is the danger that
one or two pupils may regard the subject as " rude " or
This probability has a somewhat paralysing effect upon
the most earnest and tactful of instructors. In some
instances the teacher may have to overcome his or her
own resistance or inclination to shirk the matter. Having
mastered this impediment, it is discouraging to discover
that a proportion of the pupils are not properly prepared
to accept the teaching in a natural, wholesome spirit. The
point to urge from the outset is that the study of sex is not
low, revolting or forbidden, but sacred, inspiring and beauti-
ful to all clean minds. Children should be taught that the
nastiness is not in the subject, but in the attitude of mind
with which we approach it. The inculcation of refinement
and delicacy should be based upon a clean purview of the
natural scheme of life. We should insist that it is nasty
to associate nastiness with organs and functions that are
not only indispensable for the continuance of life, but have
their great part to play in noble living, health of body,
sanity of mind, the life work, the formation of moral judg-
ments, and the development of the spiritual and religious
sense. We must teach that sex is linked up with all the
human activities, aspirations and fine achievements.
The difficulty in class teaching is that the great majority
of children come to school entirely uninstructed in sex
matters. We cannot accept the information picked up
from ignorant companions or servants as suitable pre-
liminary knowledge. On the contrary, such " knowledge "
may be extremely detrimental and hindering. If the
average parent prepared the child for the more formal
158 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
and technical teaching in the school, the tutor's task would
be considerably lighter. As it is, the school teacher may
be the first person who has ever spoken rationally to the
child on sexual topics.
The school training of girls in the laws of sex may re-
semble the teaching of boys in the initial stages. Examples
of the reproductive plan in the vegetable kingdom should
be followed by descriptions of ovulation in birds and fishes.
At puberty more specific instruction is essential. The
association of the monthly cycle with maturity should be
explained and the right hygienic counsel imparted.
Acknowledging with Dr Balls-Headley and other practi-
tioners skilled in the diseases of women that sexual health
is terribly neglected by the great mass of the potential
and actual mothers of the race, we must arouse head-
mistresses of girls' schools to a sense of their responsibility
towards the physical as well as the mental well-being of the
girls entrusted to their care.
Although fastidiousness is commonly accepted as a
feminine trait, the fact remains that girls left to themselves
very frequently neglect ordinary cleanliness and care of the
body. They tend to grave errors in diet, are apt to neglect
regularity of bowel function, and are often disregardful of
the need for frequent ablution of the whole body. Fre-
quently there is a superstitious fear of water during the
It is lamentable that the ascetic libellous ascription of
" impurity " to women still tinges in some degree the
Attitude of many women towards their bodies and the
offices of sex. Boris Sidis, the mental pathologist, gives an
instance of a convent-reared girl who was imbued with a
sense of the innate impurity of sex, and especially her own
sex. In after life, following upon marriage, she developed
a positive abhorrence of women. Minor forms of such
distortion of judgment are far from uncommon in girls.
This attitude has caused tragedy in many marriages. Sex-
phobia may be so pronounced that recoil against conjugal
intercourse may persist throughout married life. This
THE SCHOOL 159
morbid repugnance is also responsible for the harsh, narrow
and uncharitable views of human nature expressed by some
Most women, even among the educated class, enter
marriage with very scanty knowledge of the essential
physiological facts. Some possess no knowledge whatever.
There are plentiful recorded instances of a complete ignor-
ance among women of various ages. This total unpre-
paredness for conjugality and maternity is a remarkable
anomaly of " civilisation." It is a total annihilation of
the theory that " instinct teaches." Instinct cannot teach
human beings who have lost instinct. It is one of the main
aims in the education of girls to suppress natural instinct,
and if knowledge is not substituted the inexperienced
bride is placed in one of the cruellest and most helpless
The sex education of girls in adolescence should be
the duty of the mother. If the parent feels incapable in
this matter, the help of a sympathetic and intelligent
married woman friend should be sought. Adequate
enlightenment concerning marital intimacies can scarcely
be made part of class instruction. Even if a teacher is
able and willing to talk privately to a girl about to be
married, the fact that the instructor is herself unmarried
is not calculated to inspire a high confidence in the pros-
pective bride. A woman physician of broad human
sympathies and a knowledge of sexual psychology is an
efficient counsellor. There are young people who prefer to
seek instruction from a comparative stranger. A strong
inhibitory shyness very often exists between mother and
Admitting that sex resistance and recoils are more likely
to manifest themselves in young women than young men,
it is needful to exercise scrupulous care in the sex education
of girls. It is very necessary to prepare the way for know-
ledge by fostering a healthy natural attitude of mind.
Much may have to be unlearned. It is often essential
that a primary respect for the body should be instilled.
This appeal may be made aesthetic, poetic and symbolic
as well as scientific. The beauty of the human form and
the wonders of the bodily nirHianHin may be made a
160 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
romantic subject. A mere anatomical catalogue is certainly
not enough, and may be simply repellent. The fascinating
interaction of the somatic and the psychic, the magical
metabolism, and the eternity of the germ plasm can be
rendered interesting themes by the skilful instructor.
The arousing of the erotic impulse and the religious or
moral sense both occur at puberty, and are apt to manifest
themselves simultaneously. Morbid religiosity is sometimes
epidemic in schools, and may be traced in some instances
to a sex hypersesthesia in which eroticism and piety are
curiously blended. Intense sentimentality may develop
at this time, accompanied by a prudish attitude towards
material or physical phenomena. Ill-educated teachers,
lacking knowledge of juvenile psychology, often foster in-
stead of checking this excess of emotionalism in adolescent
There is a progressive improvement in feminine education
and the hygiene of girls' schools ; but there is still need for
the reform and the remodelling of the educational cur-
riculum and methods. It is a depressing experience for
one who is earnestly solicitous for humanistic education to
see a growing girl utterly fatigued and nervously irritable
and wakeful through trying to cram the dead languages in
order to pass an examination. The time devoted to Greek
and Latin would often be spent more profitably in the study
of the vital matters essential for a knowledge of modern
life. We need not enter into the discussion concerning the
value of a classical education. It is admitted by all pro-
gressive educational experts that acquaintance with the
ancient languages should form a part of a wide culture.
But we have to decide whether it is good policy for a girl
to give more study to Latin grammar than to biology,
physiology, psychology and sociology.
The neglect of science in girls' schools is a grave hindrance
to the education of the average woman. There is an un-
reflective and ill-founded view that scientific knowledge
unfits the mind for the practical business of life. It is
perfectly true that a scientific investigator, a zoologist, a
chemist or an astronomer may be so completely absorbed
in his studies and researches that he has no remaining energy
for other affairs. But there is very little fear that the
THE SCHOOL 161
average boy or girl will neglect the daily duties of life
through an elementary knowledge of biology. And it is
certain that even a little science is valuable in performing
the commonest tasks. Cultivation of the faculties of observa-
tion, reflection, criticism and concentration undoubtedly
assists in playing the great game of life. Human exist-
ence to-day, in all the civilised nations, must of necessity
derive more and more light from scientific knowledge.
THE child and the adolescent are exposed to dangers of
misdirection of thought upon sex, and often to positive
corruption of morals, through ordinary social intercourse.
However zealously we may shield the boy or girl, there is
always the risk of mental and moral contamination. A
chance expression overheard in the street may arouse a deep
curiosity in an inquiring child, and there is no question
that the obscene inscriptions upon walls and hoardings have
their effect upon the mind of youth. In his closely analytic
study of juvenile development, Mr Joyce, in his Portrait
of the Artist as a Young Man, refers to the influence of the
pornographic words and drawings which disfigure the walls
of many public lavatories, waiting-rooms, park shelters and
Even when the lad has escaped the normal menace of
school life he is not safe when he goes into the world and
mixes in business with men of all types. A young relative
of mine, who was for a time a clerk in a foreign bank in
London, was asked by a middle-aged superior : " Have
you ever been with a prostitute ? " When the young man
replied " No," the older man remarked : " Then it is time
you showed that you are a man." Such suggestion is by
no means uncommon.
Probably only a few debased men deliberately incite
youths to loose habits ; but there is, in many business
houses, an atmosphere of misdirected sexuality, and a
persistent tendency to coarse and indecent conversation
and jesting. Nor is this tendency inconspicuous in work-
rooms, factories and offices where girls are employed. I
have evidence that a vulgar appraisement of sex love and
the habit of loose talking are prevalent in many v/ork-
SOCIAL INFLUENCES 163
places and large stores. We must not severely condemn
those who err in this way through ignorance, bad nurture
and a pernicious environment. Few of us are entirely
immune from this taint of vulgarity.
It is almost impossible to exercise complete supervision
over the selection of companions for our sons and daughters.
Any interference in this matter on the part of the parent
is likely to be resented by the boy or girl entering upon the
adolescent stage ; and such resentment is calculated to
impair the confidence that should exist between youth and
age. If we are scrupulous in retaining the good faith
and affection of the children in our charge we shall find
that they seldom develop close secretiveness concerning
their friendships. A discriminating parent will refrain
from prohibiting association with a particular comrade
until he or she is well assured that the influence is
detrimental. There should be kindly insistence on the fact
that the best and most companionable youths are the
healthy-minded, the naturally and rationally inquiring, and
.those possessing a diversity of interests and wholesome
It is always safe to encourage boys in an ideal of physical
vigour, endurance, animal courage and the fair-play or
" sporting " sense. Although sport and athletics may
sometimes bulk too greatly in the youthful outlook on life,
there is not the least doubt that rigorous games, with their
inviolable rules and the principle of playing fair in all
sports, conduce to a feeling for justice, generosity towards
a rival and a sense of honour. This ideal of always " playing
straight " may be an aid in the temptations of the flesh.
We ought to instil the idea of bravery and hardiness com-
bined with compassion for the weak and a zeal for socialised
There may be still some persons of both sexes who think
that a young man should sow his wild oats. There are,
however, harmful and harmless excitements and dissipa-
tions. It is hardly true that, do what we may, a young
man will go his own way and flirt and trifle with vice. If
the sowing of wild oats means, as it usually does, the
seduction of girls of an inferior status, and the substitution
of coarse sensual satisfactions for psychic and uplifting love
164 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
during early manhood, the process stands utterly con-
demned on ethical, social and hygienic grounds. On the
other hand, a too tight curb on restive youth, whether male
or female, frequently fails to restrain. We can " shelter"
or restrict to a dangerous degree. The attempted suppres-
sion and the undue repression of the primitiveness of
healthy boyhood or girlhood may be fatal to morality,
sanity of mind and soundness of body. All vigorous young
creatures crave excitement, adventure, the courting of
dangers, the expression of a high vitality.
Boys must " run wild " on sound biological lines. We
have become civilised, urbanised, and half tamed too
rapidly for some of our fundamental, savage, ancestral
longings to adapt themselves. It is terrible to reflect
upon the consequences of a denial of ample playtime for
the vast multitude of the young among the people. The
neglect of life for the eternal grindstone is a serious factor
of spiritual atrophy and of physical deterioration. It is
not all of life to labour. Stanley Hall is right in his view
that the majority of adolescents do not play enough.
This is especially true in regard to girls. For we must
remember that the athletic girls of the high schools and
the colleges are only a small part of the population. For
the mass of men and women, overwork and too prolonged
work is a sheer necessity under existing conditions.
Debarred from healthful play amid the soothing and
beneficial influences of nature, tens of thousands of young
men, confined in reeking cities, discover no other outlet for
their superfluous energy and their passion for adventure than
drinking, betting and promiscuous or " wild " love. This
sowing of wild oats is not an outcome of idleness, as among
the rich. It is a reaction, a protest against the drab
monotony of poorly paid and incessant toil in more or less
uncongenial surroundings. For the city toiler there are
long spells when it is hardly possible to escape, even for a
few hours, into pure air and sunshine. In the vast com-
plication of modern industrialism we may trace the source
of much sexual abnormality and degeneration.
SOCIAL INFLUENCES 165
The attitude of society towards sex cannot at present be
considered favourable to youthful development on moral,
physical or racial lines. There is no definite ethic, no
supreme standard, and no fine idealism when we examine
the minds of men and women as a mass. Nothing can
be more bewildering to an earnest adolescent boy or girl
than the views and judgments of society upon questions
of the erotic or sexual life. The conflicting opinions and
the inconsistencies in practice are innumerable and utterly
There is the view of " the man of the world," which is
chiefly a mere matter of sex gratification. There is the
almost rare appraisement of love as something superbly
uplifting and ennobling ; and there is the extremely common
estimate of sexuality as something unworthy, animal
throughout, a force that must be suppressed as a shameful
lust, a mark of man's low spiritual state, a retribution for
the Fall in Eden, and a perpetual menace to purity of
thought and conduct. There is the ascetic recoil that
impels men and women to seek safety and to conserve
chastity by voluntary isolation from the world, and self-
immolation and emotional mutilation. There is the gross,
callous, entirely lascivious evaluation of sexual love.
Allied with this, though unconsciously, is the prudery that
censures and would even suppress all examination of the
strongest instinct and most powerful psychic force in
humanity. The lecherous and the prudish are both the
foes of light, morality and social happiness, though they
may refuse to recognise one another.
Society tells the youth one day that it is absolutely
essential for his well-being that he shall preserve an inviolate
purity. To-morrow the bewildered young man hears that
if it were not for the prostitute there could be no ' ' pure
women "; that the courtesan is a necessity in all civilised
states ; and that the majority of men actively support
prostitution. He is told in the same breath that we are
a monogamic people, and that the ordered polygamy of
the Oriental races is abominable. He learns that love is
166 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
the one thing that cannot be bartered, and he discovers
that quite a large host of respectable women are reared in
the tradition that " a good match " means a marriage
with an affluent partner.
For a thoughtful youth or maiden the attitude of every-
day society seems a medley of amazing contradictions.
We teach our children to honour motherhood ; but the
legally unmarried mother we hunt from our doors, and
condemn her to misery and infamy, while we cruelly visit
her offence upon her innocent offspring, depriving the child
of certain essential civic rights. We affect that love is
beyond price, but we award " damages " in cash to the
husbands of unfaithful spouses. We teach that affection
between the sexes is spontaneous, irresistible and beyond
our will ; but if two are joined without this natural bond
of union, and wish to sever the link, we exhort them in the
name of religion and purity to remain in unnatural, socially
disruptive pseudo-conjugality. We avoid any social con-
tact with " the fallen woman/' but invite the lowest fallen
of men, be they well bred and mannered, to our domestic
How can a young man or young woman mingling in
ordinary, respectable, conventional society frame, from
such a conglomeration of conflicting estimates, any sound,
practical code for the conduct of the love life ?
Common-sense, intuition and experience gradually aid
many in forming a rough-and-ready valuation of love
and marriage. But how many there are who pass through
life compassless and rudderless upon a turbulent sea. The
ways of nature are obscured from a host through the dark
maze of ignorance constructed by society. What foresight,
what protection, what guidance can there be without
It has been said that it is life, not books, that influence
thought or corrupt morals. Undoubtedly words spoken
by those to whom respect or admiration is accorded are
often more potent than a printed page from a work of
superior wisdom. Most young people gain their views of
love and sex from the spoken opinions of their associates.
The ideas begin to form in childhood in the home, and
are modified, elaborated, revised or rejected when the
SOCIAL INFLUENCES 167
restraint of home life is relaxed. Society represents many
liaracter and mind ; but it is no exaggeration to
say that the majority of men and women, not excluding
the reputed well-educated, are blind leaders of the blind in
questions concerning the evolution, physiology, psychology,
hygiene and ethics of sex. The great preponderating
are not equipped with adequate knowledge of a hitherto
almost universally neglected study.
There can be little validity in the counsels of guides
who do not know the way through the jungle. In matters
of sex the average man and woman have not thought
it worth while to learn the way. They have relied on
" instinct " : a very valuable possession for a tiger, both in
hunting and in love, but an asset that man loses with a
steady regularity of impairment as he becomes civilised
and mechanical. It is obvious that instinct in sex still
impels man. But it does not tell him always and un-
erringly how he should act. The human mother has to be
taught how to care for her young.
In the important question of pre-marital chastity the
educated world has no clear direction and very little help
to offer the young man. " Purity " is inculcated as a high
virtue, especially in women ; but the term is never plainly
interpreted by ethical counsellors, nor is the best way of
attaining to pureness in living pointed out to ardent,
strongly sexed youths. One member of the community will
maintain urgently that prolonged sexual abstinence is never
injurious to body or mind, while another will refer to its
dangers and hint of insanity and impotence as probable
results. Some will assert that strict continence is always
easy for women ; others will affirm that the periodic
arising of sexual desire in woman places her practically
in line with man in amative inclination.
Realising that both " natural instinct " and the advice
of the uninformed fail when put to the test, it becomes
imperative to call in the aid of scientific knowledge. And
this is precisely that which the average man and woman
lacks. The influences that reach the youth or the maiden
through association with ordinary society are therefore
questionable. At the best the counsels and prescriptions are
dubious, and at the worst they are injurious and debasing.
i68 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
It is necessary to warn the young against this risk.
An impressionable boy or girl may suffer a deplorable
distortion of mental and moral vision through imbibing
common unreflective opinions upon the emotion of love
and the relations of the sexes.
It must always be remembered that knowledge of sex
is frequently in the nature of an astounding revelation, and
that shock or revulsion may occur in the case of an entirely
unprepared mind. The sudden awakening to the facts of
the sex nature, when shock is the outcome, may mark the
beginning of hysteria or some other form of neurosis. There
is full proof of this peril in the analysis of the newer school
The drama, the variety stage and the cinema all con-
tribute to the sex enlightenment of the young. There is
for some persons a strong sensuous appeal in the stage,
but this does not by any means nullify the educational and
reformative factor of the play. We cannot discuss classic
opera as an aphrodisiac (sexual excitant) because desire is
aroused in some by music, or because certain members of
the audience are moved erotically by the display of the
female form in the ballet. The appreciation for aesthetics
is doubtless linked up with the sex instinct, and song,
painting and fervid poetry may be regarded as sublimated
forms of primary yearnings. But this association does not
commonly enter into the conscious mind.
When the stage vulgarises the emotion of love and derides
sexual idealism, the influence may be distinctly evil. Thus
a flippant presentation of infidelity in marriage, or the
treating of vice as a jest, may act very injuriously upon
frail and unbalanced minds. The potentiality for good in
the drama will scarcely be disputed by the thoughtful ;
nor will the power for ill be denied. It may be noted here
that the standard of official stage censorship, which forbade
moral plays because the theme was the social consequences
of venereal disease, and sanctioned foolish farces, in which
the ideal of chastity was flagrantly ridiculed and cleanness
of living derided, has changed within the past few years.
SOCIAL INFI n NCES 169
The realities of war seem to have convinced many of the
vital realities of life in times of peace. There is a tendency
now to convert the stage into a pulpit.
The contention that an exhibition of semi-nudity of
women on the stage in revues, pantomimes and spectacles
fosters lust in the beholders has a foundation in fact.
But, as many sex psychologists are agreed, it is very hard
to say what will not, or may not, give rise to libidinous
thought in specific cases. If a sight of the sea can arouse
amorous emotion in one individual, and a melody by Chopin
in another, we can scarcely affirm that feminine charms on
the stage are without their influence. On the other hand,
the banning of alleged indecent clothing on the stage and
elsewhere has been attempted by authority in most civilised
countries. Invariably the edicts have shown no result in
a reformation of public morality.
This consideration brings us to the difficult question of
the practical moral value of " policing " public entertain-
ments. A too rigid intervention seems always the source
of more indecorum in secret places. This reaction appears
to be inevitable. The craving for the forbidden is extremely
potent in a large number of human beings. The reform
of public recreation is a matter of education and has little
relation to Acts of Parliament. When parents are really
awakened to the necessity for safeguarding youth against
any sight or speech that lowers instead of elevating respect
for sex, there will be no public demand for ugly or vicious
forms of amusement. The " suggestive " ceases to attract
those who understand the sacred nature of the mysteries
of love and life.
We must avoid the Puritanism that inspires reckless
revolt and leads to defiant excess, and the licence which
outrages our finer aspiration. Some of the songs of the
music halls are not those we would choose for our children's
singing. Many are harmless, others vulgar and ineffably
foolish, and some undeniably detrimental. Nevertheless
the popular place of amusement must be encouraged almost
at any cost. There should be more halls of music, song and
The cinematograph, like the stage, may be made a very
valuable instrument for public diversion and instruction.
170 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
There is no doubt that boys have been incited to adventure
and even to crime by impressions gained at picture shows.
We are, however, apt to forget that the representations of
heroism often exert a moral influence. In America an
inquiry among teachers and children has proved that the
cinema pictures have, in some cases, stimulated unselfish-
ness, kindness, compassion and heroism.
THE influence of the written word on the mind of the young
is beyond question. Many children derive their earliest
impressions of love between the sexes from fairy stories and
old legends. It has been pointed out that the erotic pass-
ages in The Arabian Nights may have an injurious effect
upon the young. This objection might be applied to a
number of the classics of our literature, including the plays
of Shakespeare and Paradise Lost. I have questioned a
few intelligent men and women concerning the alleged
danger of The Arabian Nights, and their view is that the
passages under discussion made no impression upon them
in childhood, the consensus being that children are apt
to skip, or give little attention to, descriptions of love-
There is, however, no doubt that crude enlightenment
may be gained from the Bible. There is considerable testi-
mony that children read some parts of the Old Testament
with intense curiosity, and that they often question parents
and teachers as to their meaning. A highly intelligent lady
tells me that on her first visit to a Sunday school she was
told the story of the Garden of Eden. The statement
" Adam knew Eve " puzzled her, as it has puzzled other
children who have no acquaintance with archaic forms of
speech. The teacher maladroitly refused to answer the
question. On the next Sunday the interrogation was re-
peated by the little pupil and an answer again evaded.
The inquiry was resumed on the third Sunday, with the
same result. " After that," says my informant, " I
thought the te:.-lvr a very silly person, and I refused to
attend the Sunday school in the future."
References to the rite of circumcision and to emasculation
172 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
sometimes arouse the curiosity of children of both sexes.
I recall the case of a schoolmate who, during a Scripture
lesson, asked the master the meaning of the word " eunuch."
The teacher suggested that the boy should ask his father.
Boys and girls are often interested in the account of the
birth of Esau, the story of Ammon and Tamar, Joseph and
Potiphar's wife, Samson and Delilah, and passages in the
Mosaic Code referring to sexual hygiene.
Allusions to marriage in the Epistles of St Paul often
cause juvenile curiosity and give rise to questioning.
Thoughtful children ask for explanations of such dicta as
" It is better to marry than to burn," and " Whoremongers
and adulterers God will judge." Most parents can re-
member instances of such desire for knowledge among
The habit of searching the Bible for these passages is
fairly common in both boys' and girls' schools. Frequently
the stories are repeated to other children. The danger is
that the interest in the narratives may be frivolous, vulgar
or lascivious ; and the recognition of this danger has even
led to misguided proposals that the Bible should be expur-
gated for the use of children. The undiscerning advocates
of " revised " or bowdlerised classics always lose sight of
the fact that all expurgation is apt to kindle a more ardent
curiosity. There is a desire to read the deleted sentences.
Thus a book that is intrinsically harmless may be made
That the Bible contains condemnation of fornication and
other offences which are mysteries to the mind of the young
child does not appear to be a sound reason for placing it in
an index of unpermissible juvenile books. Undoubtedly
there are references to abnormal sexual practice and to
more than one form of perversion. Sooner or later the
child will almost certainly, in his journey through life, en-
counter actual cases of these vices or abnormalities. The
honest and ethical course for the instructor would seem to
be a tactful, sympathetic heed to the child's inquiries. The
classics, sacred or otherwise, should be read under parental
or pedagogic direction. There are passages in the master-
pieces of literature that may be read in the wrong spirit,
and set up a detrimental attitude to sex questions. Much
THE BOOK 173
depends on the idiosyncrasy of the reader, but more
(K pends on the insight and good sense of the guardian or
It is well to explain to children that the forms of expres-
sion in speech ;n:d writing change from age to age. A word
which has a coarse or suggestive implication to-day is often
a word that was in the common polite use among our
ancestors. Although some few of the classics of old must
be classed as " erotica," and are likely to stimulate a
youthful curiosity, the great mass, despite plainness of
jphrase or coarseness in the modern connotation, are pro-
foundly moral in influence.
No sane teacher would ban Shakespeare by reason of
isolated, incidental passages, nor proscribe Paradise Lost
on account of the description of the nuptials of Adam and
Eve. The general tone and the elevated purpose of a
volume or a classical legend should be explained to the young
reader ; otherwise, in certain instances, the child may con-
ceive an opinion that the author directly aimed at impro-
priety. This is an almost inevitable risk in the instance of
young people who have been reared in the prudish attitude
towards sex. The naturally wholesome, sympathetically
and rationally directed mind of a boy or girl very rarely
hankers pruriently for the merely sensual or the simply
obscene in literature. The chief aim of the teacher is to
maintain a healthy curiosity, a real spirit of inquiry for the
sake of knowledge.
It has been said that life, and not books, corrupts. This
is but a part truth. Sensitive, imaginative, intelligent
children are often deeply influenced by what they read. It
is impossible to doubt the effect of false and vulgar fiction
upon the characters of an immense number of the young of
both sexes. Stirring sea tales inspire boys with a yearning
for the sailor's life ; stories of battles and " glorious war "
foster longings for adventures on the field, and the lives
of highwaymen, brigands, pirates and intrepid criminals
stimulate to example in numerous instances. Impression-
able girls are highly affected by love stories. Many en-
deavour to mould themselves from the models presented in
cheap novelettes and ephemeral fiction. Books foster day-
dreaming in both sexes. The imaginative often try to
174 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
personify in themselves the heroes, heroines and even the
villains of romance.
There is no question that some books are detrimental
to a sound sex development. Among these are the
obviously indecent productions, usually sold by stealth,
and certain conventional works of fiction which are often
widely recommended as " safe " or " clean." A novel that
purports a portrayal of love, and entirely ignores the
passional element and the physical basis of attraction, may
so utterly mislead a young girl that she is in dire risk of
marrying under a whole mass of misunderstanding and
fallacious conjecture. The " girl's book " often distorts
life in the most grotesque fashion. The tendency to
" spiritualise " human nature is carried to a ludicrous
extreme. Manliness in these stories has very little resem-
blance to actual manliness. Such fiction retards or mis-
directs the sex development of many adolescent girls. It
is extremely doubtful whether any tale that is false to life
can be described as safe reading for the young.
The persistent reading of love stories, with highly volup-
tuous or so-called "suggestive" passages, is one of the
factors of the psychic sexual development of both sexes.
That the artistic handling of a great passion should be
impassioned goes without saying, and the greatest artists
have shown the overwhelming force of love. Many of the
lesser novelists, whose aim is to appeal to the vast crowd of
average men and women, and not to the discriminating and
intellectual, overstress the sensual side of the sex relation-
ship. On the testimony of library assistants and book-
sellers, these highly savoured erotic novels are read chiefly
by young women. Three to four of these stories are react
in a week by a large number of leisured women. This con-
stant titillation of the mind with amorous images is a
vicarious form of gratification of the amative instinct and
mast be classed among the auto-erotic satisfactions.
This inordinate absorption of very stimulating fiction has
its psychic and physical effects. The reader is in a frequent
condition of erethism. In some morbid cases the reading
of erotic stories becomes an actual substitute for normal
appeasement. Such continued hyperstimulation of the
imagination involves a tax on the cerebral and nervous
THE BOOK 175
system. It is sexually unhygienic. The mind should not
Juvll constantly upon the sex impulse. Intellectually this
intemperance in sensuous novel-reading is disastrous. The
habit of lazily skimming books of fiction destroys concen-
tration and disables the reader from reading any serious
literature with close attention and interest. This mental
tippling is a widespread custom among idle women.
The theme of modern love as developed by Thomas
Hardy, Arnold Bennett, H. G. Wells, Galsworthy, Beres-
ford, Cannan, Mackenzie and a few other thoughtful
novelists of to-day is of very considerable service in sex
education. Whatever the respective aesthetic defects of
these writers may be, they write with that knowledge and
sincerity that is the essence of ethical and artistic morality.
There may be dissent from the gentle pessimism of Hardy's
Jude the Obscure, or from the social ethics of Beresford's
Jacob Stahl, but there is the clear ring of truth in the un-
folding of the love or " human " interest. There is no
sensuality for its own sake in the work of these writers, and
no futile evasion of the fact that sex love cannot be divorced
from the senses.
Instead of the policy of " the locked bookcase," there
should be helpful guidance of the young in reading. Children
and adolescents should be encouraged to talk about the
books that interest them. The banning of certain volumes
may be necessary in the case of young children. There is,
however, always grave risk in severe prohibitions. If a
wholesome taste is fostered the child will not be attracted
by the baser kind of fiction, and will reject the pornographic
and the unsesthetic. It is impossible to banish the emotional
and erotic stimuli from the life of an adolescent boy or girl.
We can diminish the excitations and supply fine inspirations
in the place of mere lubricity by an appeal to the aesthetic
sense and the emotion.
A reverential attitude towards sex should be inculcated
by all possible means. Children should be taught that in-
decency is ugly or blasphemous. The most beautiful naked
statue can be made vulgar by the addition of a single article
of dress, and a lovely sonnet marred and soiled by the sub-
stitution of a single word. But in avoiding the Scylla of
indecency we must always be careful lest we fall into the
176 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
Charybdis of prudery. The fanatical priest who went to
public museums in Germany, and defaced the generative
organs of human statues with a hammer rendered a service
to the indecent by his insane prudishness. Thus the cen-
soring of certain passages in books may have the same result.
The most cautious discrimination is essential if we would
avoid stimulation when our object is repression. A veiled
fact may be a source of danger, though unconcealed it may
prove a potent moral force.
In the introductory chapter I have referred to eminent
modern opinion upon the need for sex education. The
specific educational volume upon this subject is a quite
recent product, but not without precedents. Sexual
hygiene has been associated with the great theologies.
Moses, Mahomet, Zoroaster, some of the Christian Fathers
and Luther laid down moral and hygienic rules for their
disciples and followers. As we have seen, the initiation
rites of puberty among primitive people are of the nature
of sexual education. In the Karma Sutra of Vatsyayana
we find the Brahminical " Rules of Love " explicitly framed
for the guidance of youth. The Catholic Adveniat Regnum
Tuum, a modern work, contains counsels for the direction
of the sex impulse in the young.
Scattered through the writings of social reformers and
moralists of the past are pleas for training the young in
the conduct of the sexual life. Bloch mentions Rousseau,
Salzmann, Basedow and Jean Paul as celebrated peda-
gogues who advocated the enlightenment of youth at an
early age. During the past fifty years in Europe and
America the output of books especially designed for the
young has been very considerable. In France, Germany,
Austria, Russia and the Scandinavian countries the ques-
tion of imparting this necessary knowledge has come into
the scope of sociology and pedagogics.
America has taken a leading part in the crusade against
ignorance, and some of the best contributions to the discus-
sion and the soundest constructive volumes are being pro-
duced in the United States.
THE BOOK 177
It is inevitable that unqualified and ill-equipped writers
have contributed to the large and growing library of works
upon sex problems and sex education. In the main, the
authors ot the inadequate books and the " scare literature"
with a sentimental, religious tone are actuated by humane
motives. A proportion of the publications are, however,
manifestly issued as " good sellers," and appear with catch-
penny titles, and in somewhat flamboyant, illustrated
covers. Others are sent out by quacks who advertise drugs
or mechanical remedies for those who have " lost man-
hood," or " shattered nervous systems," etc., through " self-
abuse " and sexual vice.
The uninformed parent, clergyman or teacher desiring a
means of enlightening themselves or young people in their
care often purchase the much-advertised books or pamphlets
in good faith. We must first teach the teacher. A volume
bearing the name of a clergyman or a medical practitioner
as author is not necessarily reliable throughout. Some
ministers and philanthropists who write with fervour
on these subjects are entirely untrained in physiology
and psychology. All exhortation must be supported by
biological knowledge and an enlightened understand-
ing of human nature. Frequently the misstatements in
books of this class actually defeat the ends of purity
and morality. There is harmful ignorance as well as
pernicious vice. Either of these factors militate against
Some of the books by medical authors of a past school of
thought are practically discredited nowadays by scientific
criticism and the growth of accumulated knowledge and
experience. For example, the once almost classic Dr
Acton, author of Prostitution, The Reproductive Organs, and
other volumes, can only be read cautiously and with due
regard for his strong preconceptions and personal bias.
Acton, who wrote about fifty years ago, denies all erotic
physical response in women, and denounces any ascription
of sexual desire to the sex as " a vile aspersion." l A
medical man who is so blind to the facts of everyday life
can scarcely be accepted as a guide for teachers. Such a
1 See criticism by Havelock Ellis in "The Sexual Impulse in
Women " in Studies in the Psychology of Sex.
178 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
pronouncement read by a totally uninstructed and uncritical
young woman might prove in after years a source of pro-
found emotional and nervous disequilibrium.
While the most valid contributions to the study of the
sexual problem are the work of physicians, there are still
some medical writers who manifest deficient psychological
insight and a restraining respect for traditional interpreta-
tions. Dr Cowan, in The Science of a New Life, formerly
much read, and quoted to-day by lay authors, asserts several
hypotheses as though they were established truths, and falls
into curious hygienic errors which later and more scientific
investigators have entirely corrected.
The Self and Sex Series, published lately, and very widely
circulated, contains volumes by Dr S. Stall and Dr Mary
Wood Allen for the guidance of youth. The excellent moral
enthusiasm of the writers of What a Young Boy Ought to
Know and Almost a Man is fully apparent. Unfortunately
in the first book Dr Stall tends to overstatement in his zeal
for emphasising the evils that he seeks to remedy. His
method of inspiring alarm has been shrewdly criticised in
Dr Robie's Rational Sex Ethics and in the Rev. H. Northcote's
Christianity and Sex Problems.
The question of the right book is not an easy one. H. G.
Wells has said : " The printed word may be such a quiet
counsellor." This is quite true. The difficulty is to find
the really sound and informative counsellor. Titles, con-
tents and the names of the writers may all mislead the
seeker for counsel. We must always bear in mind that a
vast number of men and women are supremely ignorant of
the whole question, or possess only the crudest knowledge.
Often a bias against any heed to the subject has to be broken
down. This resistance hinders some from any attempt at
enlightenment of the mind, and places them entirely remote
from any chance of usefulness in imparting information to
The following list of educational volumes for teachers and
pupils is by no means a complete bibliography. It contains
some of the chief and accredited books on the subject, with
a few comments upon them.
THE BOOK 179
VOLUMES OF EDUCATIONAL GUIDANCE FOR PARENTS AND
T KAC '
Studies in the Psychology oj Sex. By HAVELOCK ELLIS. 6 vols.
F. A. Davis Company, Philadelphia. The price of all but the
sixth volume is 2 dollars per vol., and the sixth 3 dollars.
Vol. I. 7 he Evolution of Modesty, Sexual Periodicity and
The author's contribution to the discussion of auto-erotic
practices should be very valuable to physicians, schoolmaster!
Vol. II. Sexual Inversion (homosexuality).
Vol. III. Analysis oj the Sexual Impulse.
Containing investigation of the impulse in both sexes.
Vol. IV. Sexual Selection in Man.
Vol. V. Erotic Symbolism.
Treats various perversions of the sex impulse from the
scientific, social and remedial point of view.
Vol. VI. Sex in Relation to Society.
This excellent volume might be read first. It discusses "The
Mother and Child," "Sexual Education," "The Valuation of
Sexual Love," " The Function of Chastity," " The Problem of
Sexual Abstinence," " Prostitution," " The Conquest of the
Venereal Diseases," "Sexual Morality," "Marriage," "The
Art of Love " and " The Science of Procreation."
This series has a wide reputation, and is invaluable to jurists,
legislators, teachers, and earnest social reformers. It is not
designed for young readers, and may be classed among the
foremost " advanced " inquiries into the sex question. For
the thoughtful general reader the sixth volume can be highly
recommended as a work of great sociological value.
The Task of Social Hygiene HAVELOCK ELLIS. Constable, London;
Chapters on the "Position of Women," "Sex Education,''
"The Falling Birthrate."
Man and Woman. HAVELOCK ELLIS. Scott, London. 6s.
This should be a text-book for all teachers. An extremely
interesting study of the secondary sexual characters and their
The Sexual Life of Our Time. IWAN BLOCK, M.D. Trans, from the
sixth German edition by Dr M. Eden Paul, M.D. 1908.
Rebman, London. 2 is.
An advanced scientific work of 761 pages covering a large
field in the psychology and physiology of sex. It contains
social and ethical reflections and a mass of information.
i8o A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
The Sexual Question. Prof. AUGUST FORBL, Zurich University.
One of the standard books on the subject. An exhaustive
The Sexual Life of Woman. Dr KISCH.
Useful to the medical practitioner and school teacher. A
full examination and hygienic counsel.
Three Contributions to the Sexual Theory. Prof. SIGMUND FREUD.
Vienna. English translation, London.
The investigation of the sexual impulse in childhood is of high
importance. Freud's contributions to psychology have aroused
a wide scientific interest and provided material for future
Adolescence. Prof. W. STANLEY HALL. 2 vols. Appleton, U.S.A.
An indispensable work for parents, teachers and all persons
concerned with the physical, mental and moral health of the
Analytical Psychology. Prof. JUNG.
This volume contains a very instructive account of the
psychic-sexual development in a little girl, which affords a lesson
The Evolution of Sex. Profs. PATRICK GEDDES and A. THOMSON.
Scott. 43. 6d.
A plainly written treatise on embryology, reproduction and
metabolism of the body.
Sex. Authors as above, is. 6d.
A useful volume for the instructor and for adolescents.
Problems of Sex. Authors as above. Cassell, London. 6d.
A thoughtful booklet.
Youth and Sex. Part I., Girls. By Dr MARY SCHARLIEB. Part II.,
Boys. By F. ARTHUR SIBLY, M.A. Cassell. 6d.
Sound hygienic instruction and a discussion of auto erotism
in schools by a schoolmaster.
Embryology The Beginnings of Life. Prof. GERALD LEIGHTON, M.D.
A handy little book for teachers.
The Great Unmarried. WALTER M. GALLICHAN. Laurie, London.
7 s. 6d.
An inquiry into the causes of celibacy. Chapters on
" Adolescent Restraint and Pre-Marital Celibacy," " The Sway
of Marriage" and "The Uplifting of Marriage." References
to sex education and training of the young.
Sexual Ethics. Prof. MICHEL. Scott. 6s.
A very instructive discussion.
Sex Education. Prof. MAURICE BIGELOW, Columbia University.
Macmillan, London. 53.
This should be in the library of everyone engaged in educa-
TIIK BOOK 181
tion or the care of the young. A very strong plea for sexual
knowledge as a means of race regeneration.
Reproduction and Sex Hygiene. Prof. STANLEY HALL.
A sound essay by a foremost educational authority.
Towards Racial Health. NORAH MARCH, B.Sc. Routledge. 3-5. 6d.
A well- written, plain account of reproductive processes, well
adapted as a hand-book for teachers and parents. Practical
Training of the Young in the Laws of Sex. CANON LYTTELTON.
An earnest, soundly written plea by the former headmaster
of Eton College.
Teaching of Sex Hygiene. PRINCE MORROW, M.D.
This is the work of an American physician which has been
Sex Education. J. WILE, M.D., Dumeld, U.S.A.
Problems of Sex Education. EXNER.
By an American investigator of repute.
Rational Sex Ethics. W. F. ROBIE, M.D. Badger, Boston, U.S.A.
The publishers announce that this volume is only sold to
members of the medical and legal profession. It is, however,
a very serviceable work for teachers. The tone is ethically
earnest, and the investigation of the sexual lives of a large
number of normal, intelligent men and women is highly in-
structive as a basis for inquiry into moral questions of sex.
Most of the volumes in the above list are for adult studious
readers. They are chief y too advanced, in the scientific sense, for
young readers, and are addressed to mature men and women who
seek honestly for knowledge in the domain of sexual psychology
and ethics. It is generally not advisable that young people, in
the first period of adolescence at least, should read pathological
treatises, or descriptions of the grosser forms of sexual perversion.
The brighter side of the sex impulse e.g. the normal and healthy
should be revealed first to the mind of youth.
BOOKS FOR THE YOUNG
The following books by W. STANLEY HALL are of high
Chums, Youth and Life Problems (for girls).
These may be given to boys and girls of the age of fourteen.
The Human Flower is a simple booklet designed for young children,
though not entirely accurate scientifically.
Healthy Boyhood. ARTHUR TREWBY.
This deals with auto-erotic habits. Havelock Ellis describes
It as "a little book of wholesome tendency."
i82 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
Almost Fourteen. M. A. WARREN. 1892.
Although highly praised by such an earnest sociologist as
Ellis, this book was actually condemned in America in 1897.
It has been reissued " with most of its best portions omitted "
Preparation for Marriage. HEAPE. Cassell, London.
This is the title of a book by a well-known anthropologist.
Personal Information for Girls, For Young Women, For Boys and For
Young Men are the titles of four booklets by E. EDWARDS.
Anglo-American Book Co., Wimbledon, London, S.W. is.
Girl and Woman. Dr CAROLINE LATIMER.
May be placed in the hands of intelligent girls of fifteen.
The Human Body. A. KEITH, M.D. Williams & Norgate, London,
A good introduction to physiology.
Youth's Noble Path. F. J. GOULD. Also for adolescents : On the
Threshold of Sex.
The Romance of the Human Body. Dr MACFIE.
The poetical and scientific method of teaching physiology.
The Courtship of Animals. W. PYCRAFT.
This is a fascinating and instructive volume by an ardent
naturalist. It may be recommended to adolescents.
The Childhood of Animals. Prof. CHALMERS MITCHELL.
AT THE MARRIAGEABLE AGE
Volumes on Parentage, Heredity, Eugenics, the Care of
Children and Conjugal Hygiene are numerous. Among a large
number, the following may be selected as suitable for an
ordinary intelligent reader of either sex :
Human Elements in Sex. Dr ELIZABETH BLACKWELL. 1894.
Counsel to Parents. Dr ELIZABETH BLACKWELL.
Differences in the Nervous Organisation of Man and Woman. H.
Man and Woman. HAVELOCK ELLIS.
A valuable volume.
Healthy Marriage. G. T. WRENCH, M.D.
Plain counsels on hygiene.
Health and Disease in Relation to Marriage. SENATOR and KAMINER.
The Art of Taking a Wife. P. MANTEGAZZA.
Woman and Marriage. MARGARET STEPHENS.
Before I Marry. Dr T. S. CLOUS TON.
The Problem of Race Regeneration. HAVELOCK ELLIS. Booklet.
and Race Regeneration. Dr MARY SCHARLIEB.
Natural Inhailitncc. FRANCIS GALTON.
Parenthood and Race Culture. C. W. SALEEBY, M.D.
Health in the Nursery. W. ASHBY.
The Physical Life of Woman. G. H. NAPHEYS, M.D.
Genetics. W. BATESON, M.A.
Le Mariage. Dr P. GARNIER (French). Gamier Freres, Paris.
The Psychology of Marriage. WALTER M. GALLICHAN. Laurie &
Co., London. 53. net.
An examination of the sex instinct, counsels for husbands,
wives and parents, and discussion of conjugal hygiene, pre-
marital restraint and some aberrations of the sexual impulse.
Causation of Sex. E. R. DAWSON. 6s.
Heredity. J. A. S. WATSON. Jack, London, yd.
Love and Marriage. ELLEN KEY. Introduction by Havelock
Nature of Man. Prof. E. METCHNIKOFF. (References to sex
The Changing Girl. CAROLINE W. LATIMER. is. Fleming Revell Co.
Married Love. Dr MARIE STOPES. Preface by Dr Jessie Murray.
1918. Fifield, 53.
Offers plain counsel to men and women, and unfolds a theory
of periodicity in women which demands attention.
Human Embryology. Prof. KBITH.
SOCIAL, ETHICAL AND EDUCATIONAL VOLUMES
Adolescence. STEPHEN PAGET. Constable, London, yd.
A sensible pamphlet.
Problems of Sex. JEAN FINOT (trans.)
1 "he Spirit of Youth and the City Streets. JANE ADDAMS.
An earnest appeal.
Sex and Society. W. I. THOMAS.
How to Love. WALTER M. GALLICHAN. Pearson, London, is. 3d.
Addressed chiefly to youth. Chapters on the Nature of Man
and Woman, Marriage as an Art, Chastity, Parentage, etc.
Prostitution in Europe. FLEXNER.
Hygiene of School Life. CROWLEY.
Education in Sex Hygiene. R. N. WILSON.
Sex Antagonism. W. HEAPE.
A careful scientific inquiry.
i4 A TEXT -BOOK OF SfiX EDUCATION
Psychology of Woman. LAURA MARHOLM.
Mental Trials of Sex. HELEN B. THOMPSON.
Women and Labour. OLIVE SCHREINER.
PATHOLOGICAL AND HYGIENIC
The Grip of the Venereal Microbe. W. N. WILLIS. Laurie, London.
Plainly written account of the prevalence, dangers, symptoms
and modern treatment of veneral diseases.
The Psychopathology of Hysteria. C. D. Fox, M.D.
Sexual Disabilities of Man. COOPER.
Evolution of the Diseases of Women. BALLS-HEADLEY.
Mentally Deficient Children. G. SHUTTLEWORTH and W. POTTS.
Third edition. 1910.
Defective Children. Dr G. T. N. KELYNACK, M.D.
Mother's Manual of Children's Diseases. J. M. DUNCAN. London.
Social Diseases and Marriage. P. A. MORROW. 155.
Sterility in Woman. J. M. DUNCAN.
Woman in Health and Sickness. R. BELL.
Hygiene in the Nursery. L. STARR.
Care of Infants. MILDRED BURGESS, M.D. Lewis, London, is.
The pamphlets issued by The National Council for Combating
Venereal Diseases (President Lord Sydenham, and Vice-
Presidents Sir Thomas Barlow and the Bishop of Southwark) will
be found very useful for parents and instructors. A complete list
of the publications may be obtained from the General Secretary,
8 1 Avenue Chambers, Southampton Row, London, W.C.i.
Ignorance the Great Enemy, by C. Osborne, and The Duty of
Knowledge, by A. Maude Royden, are judiciously written
warnings against the perils of sexual disease. Sir Thomas
Barlow and Sir Malcolm Morris wrote The Problem of Venereal
Diseases : How Ministers of Religion Can Help. Dr Mary
Scharlieb has written a booklet, What Mothers must tell their
Children. This is excellent propaganda literature written by
expert authorities, and the cost of the pamphlets is only a few
THE MENACE OF IGNORANCE
THROUGHOUT the preceding chapters stress has been laid
upon the dangers of a lack of knowledge of the nature and
development of the erotic impulse in childhood and youth,
and the need for devising the best system of instruction.
There may be, however, some readers who still under-
estimate the perils of ignorance. They may desire concrete
and specific instances of the psychic and physical accidents
resulting from a want of practical scientific enlightenment.
The traditional fallacy and misunderstunding that obscure
the subject tend to the assumption that the enthusiastic
advocates of sex education overstate the evils of ignorance.
It is sometimes urged that the average citizen, guided by
" natural instinct," is not confronted with problems of sex.
If we examine this view cautiously, we shall discover
that the mental and moral conflicts arising from the
profoundest of the emotions are often transferred or
manifested in vicarious or symbolic forms. A person may
attribute depression of mind, nervous symptoms, sleep-
lessness, anxiety, and bodily functional disturbances to
overstrain in work, uncongenial surroundings or pecuniary
worry, when these are merely the contributing factors.
The basic cause of the trouble is often far from the sufferer's
consciousness. Doubtless, the trials and worries of the
conscious mind aggravate the nervousness and contribute
to the depression, though frequently these are less important
than the subject suspects. The fact is that very few indeed
can possibly escape entirely from the psychic amative
conflict in modern civilised life.
186 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
The primary source of a psychoneurosis, or of hysteria,
is traumatic e.g. arising from physical shock, or injury,
or mental insults. The symptoms may not show themselves
immediately after the lesion, but may be induced later on
by a " liberating stimulus." As an analogy, we may cite
the instance of the patient who believes that his rheumatism
is due to lying down on wet grass. But many persons lie
on wet ground without contracting rheumatism. Exposure
to damp may act as the liberating stimulus for microbes
in the body, but the getting wet is not the cause of the
Shell-shock may act as a liberating stimulus for a neurotic
injury of old standing, which may not be even suspected.
One man in the trenches is scarcely alarmed by an explosion
that may shatter another man's nerves. For one woman
the loss of a child means a veiling of the sun and the deepest
despondency ; for a less affectable woman it is a transitory
grief, and for the abnormal it may not be even a cause of
A curious and .incomprehensible obsession may arise, as
an echo of a far-off childish impulse, under a sufficiently
powerful stimulus. There is no doubt that an early psychic
insult or shock often produces in predisposed individuals
marked perturbations, which, though not strictly normal,
cannot be classed as morbid.
We have to admit that the strain and complexity of
modern life in the civilised communities is a fruitful agent
of mental and nervous disturbance and of actual insanity.
It may be that " love troubles " are not the commonest
source of actual cerebral derangement, but there is no
question that erotic problems in our time engender minor
forms of nervous and psychic disorder, especially in
The ancient association of hysteria with the womb was
not as entirely fanciful as it appears. There is, at all
events, a close connection between the generative force
and the mental faculties. It is widely admitted by in-
vestigators that psychic sexual influences are notable in
hysteria. We must not theorise crudely that hysterical
symptoms in women are the result of enforced celibacy
and unsatisfied physical desire. But we may say safely
THE MENACE OF IGNORANCE 187
that sexual-emotional injuries are a common cause of
ia in both men and women. The fact that the
sufferer is unconscious of the injury does not weaken the
evidence of a traumatic origin.
In a recorded case of hysteria in a girl of seventeen, the
first attack occurred when a cat jumped on to her shoulder
as she was going downstairs. Here apparently was the
primary shock. But this incident was not the efficient
cause. Inquiry proved that, on a previous occasion, a
young man had made advances to her on the stairs and that
her emotions had been awakened.
Again and again we discover that psychoneurotic mani-
festations arise from such occurrences. The primary
injury may be caused by a mere startling conversation on
sexual matters with a companion in childhood ; sudden
violent erotic overtures, the conflict in the mind of a young
woman who finds herself falling in love with a friend's
husband, or the discovery of sexual irregularity in a re-
spected relative. Any of these experiences may be kept
inviolably secret, and every effort made to forget them.
They may sink down into the under-conscious mind, and
there remain submerged, but not destroyed. The very fact
that they cannot be mentioned, through fear, shame,
intense reserve, or prudery, seems to add tenacity to
these impressions. There is "a foreign body in the
consciousness" which, sooner or later, is likely to cause
The foregoing passages may enable the reader to realise
that guidance in sexual development provides at least a
measure of protection against psychic sex injuries. The
utterly unguided are undoubtedly those who are most
liable to exposure to these shocks, and the most likely to
suffer extremely. " Leave the direction to nature " is
the recommendation of the unenlightened. We know
that the boy or girl, carefully shielded in the home from all
" impure influences," and not prepared with necessary
knowledge, may learn corruption in half-an-hour from
the speech or the example of a bad youthful companion,
i88 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
or a debased elder. This is a matter of everyday
The mystery, the silence, the fear and the bewildering
Eersonal fantasies associated with the instinct of love
>ave the great mass pf men and women exposed to psychic
lesions. Profoundly deep prejudices, repugnances and dis-
gusts may become embedded in the mental texture in child-
hood, to result in later life in neurosis, vice, failure in marriage
or grave errors in living. The greater part of one's in-
tellectual energy may be used up for a considerable period
in an effort to expel the delusions foisted upon the mind
in youth. A revelation of actuality, after a long dream of
unreality, frequently brings a serious psychic crisis. The
psychology of the sexual life abounds with instances.
The persistence of early impressions in the psychic-
sexual sphere is very remarkable, and must be recognised
by all who are engaged in the training of the young. Sidis
studied a case of a man who feared a perverted obsession
that assailed him. Under analysis it was found that in his
eighth year schoolmates had committed an outrage on the
patient. Abhorrent as the idea was to the subject, thoughts
of abnormal practices continually invaded his mind, Causing
The over-accentuation of reserve towards sex matters
in childhood and youth, which is part of the policy of
" protecting the young," often fails disastrously. This is
especially noticeable in women. A complete ignorance
renders the mind intensely susceptible to shock ; and it
cannot be too frequently repeated that sexual affronts or
shocks are often serious, and accountable for much married
disharmony, unhappiness, and even tragedy. There are
instances of ignorant brides mistaking their husband's
normal conjugal ardour for grossness or immorality. The
sudden confronting with altogether novel experiences
hitherto ; ssociated with sin or disgust may well alarm and
repel the uninstructed virgin. It is in such revulsions in
the early days of marriage that discord of the most serious
character arises ; and from one moment of recoil may
follow years of secret unhappiness and the annihilation of
affection and esteem.
THE MENACE OF IGNORANCE 189
The following cases of the mischievous results of ignorance
ha\ i- come under my own observation, or have been described
to me by friends.
Case i. A medical friend relates that, in his student
days, he shared rooms with a fellow-student, X. Returning
one night, he saw his companion sitting in an easy-chair,
apparently half asleep. As X. did not reply when spoken to,
his friend approached him and saw a laceration in his throat.
The cut was deep, but had missed the more vital parts
and X. had collapsed. His companion gave him medical
attention, stopped the bleeding and dressed the wound.
This attempted suicide of X. was the result of terror and
brooding, induced by reading a lurid pamphlet on the fright-
ful and inevitable consequences of masturbation. X. had
never spoken of his dread and sufferings, and had been
driven into sheer despondency. He recovered of the injury
to the throat, and of his depression. His friend dispelled his
fears and gave him sound hygienic counsel.
Case 2. A young woman of the middle class, brought
up in total ignorance of the meaning of conjugal relations,
became engaged at twenty-four. She read a pamphlet
explaining the reproductive process and was " horrified."
Later, she learned from a novel that women have sex im-
pulses, and was appalled to discover that her sex could be
so " immoral." She married a man a few years older than
herself. The marriage has been very unhappy, and the pair
have separated. The husband has since developed alcoholism.
Case 3. A man, married at the age of twenty-eight,
had been told that the marital function was extremely
" weakening." He practised rigid continence for periods
of months, and the conjugal relation was never quite
normal. His wife, who was normally constituted, physically
and mentally, suffered acutely through his coldness. She
developed neurasthenia, a bad form of anaemia, and eventu-
ally an affection of the heart, from which she died at the age
of thirty-four. She attributed much of her ill-health to her
disappointment in marriage. 1
1 Refer to Married Love, Dr C. M. Slopes, for instances of similar
suffering among married women.
A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
Case 4. A woman with a high ideal of love and marriage
and a deeply religious nature, married, at about thirty, a
widower with four children. The husband was pious and
Puritanical. Disharmony arose from the honeymoon,
owing to the man's maladroitness in conjugal duties, and
the bride developed a strong repugnance to the marital
relation, which became a positive loathing. She was often
reproached by her partner for not obeying St Paul and
" submitting herself to her husband." Her life was very
unhappy. The pair quarrelled frequently, and the wife
had no affection for her husband. Though she wished to
leave him, her strong Christian principles forbade a sever-
ance of the marriage tie. Both partners were prudish in
their attitude to sexual affairs. The wife taught her
daughters that " the physical part of marriage " was
Case 5. Mrs T., brought up in conventional ignorance,
married at thirty. On the bridal night she told her husband
that she would never consent to intercourse. As persuasion
failed, Mr T. refused to use force and the marriage has never
been consummated. The husband has formed a clandestine
intimacy with the wife's close friend.
Case 6. A normal young man married a sexually an-
esthetic (frigid) woman. She frequently repelled her
husband's ardour and caused him great mental suffering.
The wife's coldness induced psychic sexual impotence in
the husband. After much unhappiness, the pair were
divorced. The man married again, and became normal
Case 7. A girl married an ardent suitor. Soon after
union she expressed disgust for the physical intimacies
of wedlock, and blamed nature for " inventing such a
scheme." The disappointed husband resorted to alcohol
as a solace. In a few years he was unfaithful, and his
wife divorced him. He has married again and is happy.
These are by no means rare instances of the result of
ignorance. They are unforiunately typical. The more ex-
perience of life gained, the deeper becomes the conviction
that the neglect of the art of love, which is the very basis
of happy marriage, is the cause of some of the profoundest
misery known to humanity. In the majority of unions
THE MENACE OF IGNORANCE 191
there has been no attempt to acquire even theoretical
scientific knowledge, and no plain apprehension of the fact
that the spiritual felicities depend upon mutual recognition
of the necessity for cultivating the mind in the right conduct
of a lifelong, intensely intimate and very complex relation-
ship. Love is a tender and precious bloom, beautiful
beyond our dreams, but, like all fragile flowers, it is vulner-
able to rude winds, sensitive to frost, and liable to languish
and pine without constant care and tendance.
The presuppositions of most persons, and especially of the
closely " guarded " virgin, concerning marital conduct are
derived from surmises and traditions of fantasy and ignor-
ance, which would be ludicrous were they not tragic in their
consequences. It is an amazing anomaly that the most
important matter in our lives should be one that we place
outside of the boundary of approved knowledge. That
there can be any association between a romantic, passionate
love and the classification of facts that will aid in confirm-
ing and conserving the emotion is, to some minds, an ap-
parently incomprehensible proposition. But it is absolutely
beyond dispute that knowledge must take the place of fantasy
in the practical usage of the potent emotion of love. In no
human sphere is ignorance so perilous as in conjugal love.
The more we learn of the potentiality of a harmonious
co-operation of the sexes in the supreme task of giving life,
the moral influence that is diffused by successful marriages,
and the excellence of a realisation of " a city of lovers and
friends," the more urgent is our desire that this force should
be studied in all its phases, bearings and possibilities. We
are urged, therefore, to place the psychology of love in the
foremost rank of the inquiries essential for founding finer
ethical standard, a practical sociology and a new "ideal of
racial regeneration. In fine, we need a Science of Sex.
" Whenever there is the slightest possibility for the human
mind to know, there is a legitimate problem of science.
Outside the actual field of knowledge can only lie a region
of the vaguest opinion and imagination, to which unfor-
tunately men too often, but still with decreasing prevalence,
pay higher respect than to knowledge." 1
In the actual cases given above, the menace of ignorance
1 Prof. Karl Pearson, The Grammar of Science.
192 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
among women is clearly instanced. Most matrimonial
trouble must be ascribed to this mental unpreparedness for
an entirely new relation with one of the other sex. Psychic
affront is an extremely common phenomenon among
women. It is a frequent cause of coldness in conjugality,
the sexual anaesthesia that provides a harassing problem
for a host of husbands, and blights the joy of wedlock for
a greater host of women. Dr Marie Stopes is disposed to
believe that probably eighty per cent, of wives do not
experience the benefit that nature has ordained as the
accompaniment of the sex act. When I mentioned this
estimate to a married man and the father of a family, he
remarked that it was too low. He believed that there are
not even twenty per cent, of married women who know this
Ellis has collected many instances of mental suffering and
physical injuries, some of them serious, through ignorance
of marital function. "It is indeed astounding to find how
ignorant, both practically and theoretically, very able and
highly educated men may be concerning sexual matters." l
The rout deceives himself that he understands women
and love. Often he does not possess the least comprehen-
sion of the virginal mind. His experiences with professional
courtesans have imbued him with false ideas concerning
women. One medical authority records over one hundred
and fifty cases of injury inflicted by husbands on wives.
The psychic harm is frequently even more serious in after-
effects ; the emotions receive deep wounds, leaving scars
that may last for a lifetime. Repugnance shown by wives
towards natural union is extremely frequent, and the prime
cause must be sought in the ignorance of both sexes.
It may be said truly that we are all of us the unthinking
victims of an evil upbringing, which exposes us from
childhood to senility to injury to ourselves and to the risk
of injuring even those whom we most love.
The chances of committing error in wedlock must remain
very high until the great mass oj men and women are educated
1 Sex in Relation to Society.
THE MENACE OF IGNORANCE 193
in conjugal behaviour from all standpoints, psychic, moral
and physiological. We shall never solve the riddle why
marriage is so often a failure until we realise this fact. It is
well to preach love, patience, forbearance, sympathy and
control. But these excellent factors of married affection
may fail completely if psychic injury, wrought through
ignorance, is the misfortune of one partner or the other.
A mental shock in an hour of tense emotion may shatter
the hope of conjugal happiness during life. So potent is the
influence of the mind upon the body that a shock to the
sensitive soul frequently inhibits the normal expression of
wedded love for the whole span of existence. However
deeply the affronted person may long to banish the inhibiting
feeling, it still endures, and defies expulsion. The obstruct-
ing recoil, or the aversion, may be clearly viewed as irrational
or abnormal. Nevertheless the sufferer's will is paralysed.
The delicate psychic mechanism has been jarred beyond
We are apt to attempt the impossible by severing body
and spirit in an estimate of the love of the sexes. The
most inspiring and beautiful instances of spiritual love in
marriage arise from the fortunate fusion of two psychic
and corporal affinities. In these unions we shall never
fail to discern a harmonious adjustment and intermingling
of the two vital elements. We often attribute these success-
ful marriages to chance. No doubt, in spite of knowledge
and discretion, a man or a woman may be swept, on a
mighty wave of emotion, into a disastrous union. But we
are prone to overvalue the influence of " chance " in wed-
lock, and to accept a fatalistic view of the possibility of
great felicity. If we convince ourselves that this is a ques-
tion of " sheer luck," we are scarcely likely to prepare
ourselves for the risks. It would be as reasonable to argue
that success in business is " all a matter of luck." We are
shrewd enough to recognise that knowledge counts in the
struggle for money-getting. Cannot knowledge aid us in
the realisation of love and concord in wedlock ?
The true consummation of love in marriage is continually
threatened and hindered by the common mistakes repeated
generation after generation. Men and women continue to
reproach one another and to foster antagonism, through
194 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
the neglect of knowledge of the secondary sexual characters.
Women think that men can be lured or coerced into denials
or to actions which are inherently more feminine than
masculine ; and men often imagine that women can be
shaped intellectually and emotionally upon the male model.
The comparative passivity of women in love is a cause
of offence to one man and a high virtue in the esteem of
another. Both men view the matter with an absence of
psychological comprehension. This " passivity " is often
the disguise assumed by a sensitive woman reared in the
masculine tradition that women should live in vestal
ignorance. Man unjustly censures woman for the very
qualities that ages of patriarchal authority have imposed
With equal unreason, some women frequently admonish
men because they are apt to place great importance on the
gratification of the erotic impulse. Women forget that this
is a male characteristic throughout organic nature, and
overlook the fact that all along the line of human evolution
their sex has accentuated maleness by choosing the most
vigorous and virile men as partners. Men have intensified
women's innate amorous resistances by means of pro-
scriptions and penalties, and women have heightened man's
eroticism by numerous lures and also by the enforced
cultivation of an extreme reserve and diffidence. Instead
of blaming each other for a condition that has developed
out of ages of slow evolution, barbaric experiment, and a
lack of psychology, both sexes should endeavour to readjust
their relations by beginning to learn some of the funda-
mental sex differences in structure, disposition, aptitude,
intellect, emotion, aspiration and desire.
Reverting to the question of the perils of ignorance, it
may be said that a volume at least might be written on the
subject. There is the eugenic ideal of race culture, that
tends to the highest moral and physical well-being of
offspring and posterity, and there is the dysgenic practice,
which prevails wherever knowledge is in disesteem.
The eugenic question covers too wide a field for even
brief discussion. I may, however, attempt to show the
prevalence of some factors of degeneration. The high
infant mortality rate, the increase of mental defectives, the
THE MENACE OF IGNORANCE 195
too common occurrence of premature births, still births
ami misi-.-m-iagrs, the inability of many nmtli<T, to
tlu-ir children, the enormous prevalence of uterine dis-
placement, the number of ovarian maladies, the results
of the racial poisons of alcohol, syphilis and tuberculosis,
the extent of sterility, the effects of hard labour upon the
maternal function, and the risks to national health through
too frequent rapidly successive pregnancies all these evils
are of vital social significance. Most of them, if not all,
are remediable. It is a question of social science, moral
solicitude and systematic action.
As we advance in civilisation and humanism, we may
reach a period when it will be considered immoral to permit
the young to grow up in ignorance of the supremest duties
of mankind. Our heirs of a higher social order will look
back with wondering horror upon the preventable sin,
disease and misery of our day, as we gaze now upon the
pages of past human apathy, ignorance, vice and folly.
Every young man and woman about to enter upon the
responsible duties of parenthood should have passed through
a graduated course of sex education from the nursery
to the school, and from the school to the public lecture
or to the hygienic and therapeutic counsellors appointed by
the State. There should be full scientific instruction for
girls before marriage. The care of health during menstrua-
tion and pregnancy and infant hygiene and the management
of children ought to be foremost subjects in all female
educational schemes. Both sexes should be taught that
haphazard procreation is a sin. The solemnity of the
function of giving life must be impressed upon the mind at
puberty. Upon marrying, young couples should know the
rules of healthy conjugal life, the varying emotional and
physical needs of man and woman, and the importance of
shielding the unborn child from harm. They should have
learned that breast-fed children stand a better chance of
attaining vigour and beauty, and resisting diseases, than
the artificially nourished. They should understand that
every human being born ought to have a fair start, not only
from birth, but from the time when its potentialities lie
in the germ plasm of the progenitors.
Early marriage should be encouraged by the moralist
196 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
and the social hygienist as the most effective restraint
upon vice, and for the physical and mental welfare of society.
Enforced child-bearing should be condemned. The wife
should be the owner of her body and the determining
partner in the matter of reproduction.
A high enthusiasm for the production of beautiful and
vigorous offspring should be cultivated by every possible
means. The fallacy that the healthiest parents produce
the largest families of healthy children should be corrected.
When children are born rapidly from a single mother, the
chances of death for the later-born children are very great,
and the later offspring are likely to be feeble. The seventh-
born die in some communities at the rate of 330 per 1000,
and more than half of the twelfth-born infants in every
thousand are doomed to an early death. There is a steady
rise in the infant death-rate per 1000 after the birth of the
The burning question of sexual hygiene before and after
marriage can no longer be excluded from education in the
home and the school on the plea that such teaching is
non-essential. Louder and more insistent comes the
demand from thoughtful persons in every civilised country
and in every class of the community. The Great War, rag-
ing while this book was written, has opened the eyes of a
multitude to the existence of menacing problems connected
with the relations of the sexes. The savage survivals of
fierce and cruel lusts have been instanced in foul enemy
atrocities that cannot be published openly. The untimely
deaths of hosts of the most vigorous men and the maiming
of the body and the mind of countless thousands have
complicated the social anomaly of the unmated woman.
The aftermath of war provides new enigmas for the eugenist,
the reformer in sexual hygiene, the legislator and the
A common example of the contradictions, conflicting
ideas and the prevailing haze in the average mind, when
sexual questions are discussed, is the tendency to refer
the amative instinct to a low or animal sphere of human
nature. Yet nothing shows the great differentiation
THK M KNACK OF IGNORANCE 107
between the sex impulse in the animal and the m.m
tli, in the man's capacity for making love serve other high
purposes besides the generative.
Nature's processes are slow. We are fain to believe
that the genus Man is extremely ancient. If mankind have
existed on the globe for five hundred thousand years, what
is such a period in the cosmic sense ? It is certain that
animals peopled the earth scores of millions of years before
men were known. For an aeon of time there were no human
beings in the world. The vaunted " lord of creation " is a
recent development of animal life, and in his body are
numerous vestigial organs reminding him of his pre-human
ancestry. In the brain of man also are thoughts, desires,
passions and impulses of brute-like, feral, barbarous fore-
The history of human love is still in its earliest pages.
Romantic passion as we know it is a recent development.
There are races of men on the earth to-day whose love ideals
scarcely attain to those of the birds and the higher mammals.
There are hosts of men and women in the advanced civilised
states whose conception of love is hardly above the animal
plane. On the other hand, there are some highly evolved
human beings who instance the enormous potentiality of
this passion of the soul and the body in noble lives, the
sublimation of the coarser sensual elements, and the exalta-
tion of the spiritual. They are those who show us the
possibilities of sex love in its finest development, and
inspire hope for an era when this spiritualising power will
emerge from the swamps and thickets of a social order that
inhibits its supreme activity and progress.
We cannot look for a renascence of love until we under-
stand the meaning of sex in human affairs. We are hurled,
as it were, from rock to brier in our ideas upon the erotic
power. One person guides us to the obstructing boulder
of the mind that love is simply carnal desire ; another leads
us to the entangling brier that " spiritual " love is some-
thing wholly sunderable from all desire of the senses.
One moralist teaches that our only hope of salvation from
the fetters of a gross instinctive impulse is in an abnormal
and constant asceticism. The prescriptions and the pro-
scriptions are so bewildering and numerous that the mass
198 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
of our young men and women are without any sure light
to their feet in a journey beset with constant dangers and
The daily spectacle of the sightless or the purblind
endeavouring to lead the inexperienced among the morasses
and thorns of the erotic life is a lamentable reflection upon
our widely proclaimed culture and morality. Many of us
act criminally towards the young by withholding the truth
that alone can protect. We utter a few wise saws, whisper
an injunction of " purity," without knowing ourselves what
" purity " or " chastity " really mean, and leave practical
guidance untouched. We deliberately, in the majority
of cases, obscure the truth under the fatal delusion that
darkening facts promotes a facility for virtue. That is to
say, we send our boys and girls on an errand along a cliff
edge, assuring them that the path is dangerous, while we
carefully blindfold them upon starting. Such is the out-
come of the reticences, the deceptions, the evasions and the
false modesty which influenced the mass of us in our child-
hood. We know that below the cliff are the ruthless sea
and the jagged reefs, and that many in our experience have
stumbled to death. Yet we are silent, or, if we whisper,
we confuse or mislead. And we say that we love our
It is time that we taught ourselves and our children
that the love of man and woman is not an ethereal essence,
entirely sublimated or separated from the physical impul-
sion, and prevented others from equally deceiving them by
suggesting that love simply means sexual intercourse.
We must tell them the truth, because it is beautiful and of
good report. We must explain that out of this imperious
bodily craving has developed a transcendently marvellous
emotion that purifies and exalts the soul, that increases
sympathy and unselfishness, that irradiates from the
family to the community, that quickens the sense of beauty,
deepens moral and religious feeling, and vitalises all the
powers of humanity.
Shall this be our basis of teaching, an instruction begun
tenderly by the mother, and continued by those entrusted
with the care of the child and the adolescent ; or shall we
perpetuate the present neglect, which leaves our children
THE MENACE OF IGNOI
the prey to forbidding fancies, to idle and mischievous
presuppositions, to doubts and alarms, and to the degrading
and destructive influence of the untaught, the halt-
enlightened, the viciously frivolous, the indecent and the
WOMAN'S PART IN SEX EDUCATION
THERE is a general view among reformers of the vital branch
of education discussed in these pages that the primary
teacher should be the mother. This brings us to a con-
sideration of the relation of the Woman's Movement, or
Feminism, to the subject of sex. Upon woman devolves
the principal share in the transmission of life and the up-
bringing of children. If women are even less capable and
prepared than men for the task of training the young in
the laws of life, this incapacity requires an immediate
remedy, because upon the initial direction depends almost
all the chances of success in later education.
The freeing of women from the shackles of the barbaric
ages is not simply a matter of admission to the electorate,
the amelioration of legal enactments bearing upon marriage
and divorce, and industrial reforms. Most important of
all is the removal of the hampering prejudice that has placed
an understanding of the sex question outside of the field of
women's education. The greater part of life must no longer
be regarded, as Henry James once said, as " a sealed book
to the virgin." Intellectual emancipation should accom-
pany liberation from civic and social injustice.
It has been a part of the " polite education " of women
to exclude or to hide the great truths of the human funda-
mental instincts. Women have acquiesced in this taboo
upon knowledge from a mistaken self-protective sense.
But this shrinking from the light, though it has always
gratified the more sensuous types of men, who would have
women " innocent " which simply means, in this respect,
childish and ignorant and appeased the patriarchal
males, who adhere to the code of feminine subjection, has
never been a protection for woman. This ignorance has,
WOMAN'S PART IN SEX EDUCATION 201
on the contrary, proved one of the gravest dangers of
womanhood. The chief source of the tragedies of woman's
life is to be sought in the moral conflicts, the emotional stress,
the conjugal and domestic problems, and the multiform
difficulties arising from the relations of the sexes and the
function of maternity.
Besides the high chance of a life of involuntary celibacy,
women are exposed to greater risks of unhappiness in
marriage than the mass of men. For many reasons, the
home remains the normal sphere of woman, in spite of the
great increase of women workers in most professions and
trades. So long as the racial instinct exists, woman will
be the chief maker of the home, and will find her highest
satisfaction in family life. Woman's welfare is therefore
even more dependent upon a peaceful and pleasant domestic
environment than the well-being of the average man is
dependent upon the " fireside clime." Marriage to the
great multitude of women means motherhood, the co-
operation of man in founding the family, the consummation
of strong yearnings for affection and sympathy, and the fulfil-
ment of imperative functions. Upon wedlock the greater
number of women stake all their chances of happiness.
It is painfully apparent that a large proportion of wives
never realise their maiden dreams of married love. They
may not repine openly, nor resign themselves to hopeless
despondency ; but the sense of disappointment is often
present, and only slightly relieved by the reflection that
disillusionment is the common lot of the married, and that
what cannot be cured must be endured. The view that it
is better to be unfortunately mated than not married is
not an invariable consolation. An unhappily married
woman is very frequently more unhappy than her spinster
sister. She may suffer more in health of mind and body
than the celibate woman whose love emotion has never
been vitally stirred.
The radical causes of conjugal infelicity among women
are ignorance of their own physiological and psychic
organisation, misapprehension of natural laws governing
sex union, and a very imperfect understanding of the
nature of man. This lack of the knowledge requisite for
successful matrimony is frequently entirely unconscious.
202 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
The maiden has not the least intimation of her profound
ignorance, or at the most she is only vaguely aware of this
deficiency. She is urged into betrothal and marriage by
sentiment, the glamour of love, the desire for a home of
her own, and the conventional view that marriage gives
social status to a woman. Frequently her strongest
passions are not concerned. She is unaware of their very
existence. Courtship may awaken dormant impulse; but
the full import of the desires are not grasped, or they may be
strenuously resisted as evil promptings. The ardour of the
wooer may bewilder and even affront the inexperienced
girl, and her natural feminine reserve and modesty may
become an abnormal or morbid revulsion after marriage.
The woman who has been sedulously instructed from girl-
hood that sex is essentially " our lower desires," and that
the ways of nature are mysteriously shameful, and the
woman who has received no counsel of any kind are in the
gravest peril of misfortune in wedlock. They may pass
the greater part of their lives in a peculiarly acute process
of ridding themselves of the deep-rooted thorns implanted
in the mind through direct teaching of a false kind, or the
growths that have accumulated through secret personal
speculation and surmise. Marriage is for many men and
women a hard school for unlearning the misconceptions and
fallacies formed in the mind during childhood and youth.
Divested of the human right of preliminary theoretical
knowledge, the bride is entirely dependent upon the initia-
tion of the husband. Realisation is sudden, vehement
and frequently poignant. The man is usually as ignorant
of his wife's deepest psychic and physical needs as she is of
his. Neither of the partners in this great undertaking
is cognisant of the manifold risks to which their ignorance
or their miseducation exposes them. They rely wholly
upon the fact that they are in love with one another.
They have not learned that the art of love is the sole
conservator of affection in marriage.
We are wont to believe that feminine resistance to sane
instruction in sex matters is a deep-seated, even hereditary,
WOMAN'S PART IN SEX EDUCATION 203
characteristic. Experience proves that this conception
is erroneous. The indifference or the hostility exhibited
by many persons is not innate and inherent. This apathy
rarely exists in the child of normal intelligence. There is
a budding curiosity, which ,is perfectly natural and com-
prehensible. The child is deeply impressed by the birth
of a baby in the home, and questions arise in his or her
mind. Children arc witnesses of the caresses that the
parents lavish upon one another. They hear of love-
making, engagements and marriages. But the little girl,
especially, is silenced or reproved when she seeks to
appease her curiosity, and gradually and surely she
absorbs, in the innermost parts of her mind, the idea
that this or that is a " rude " topic, or a " naughty " one.
This method of suppression is maintained in the nursery
and elaborated when the girl approaches puberty. She
is tutored in the belief that the things she longs most to
know are "unmentionable," "improper," "not nice." A
whole vocabulary of argot-terms is invented in many house-
holds to describe necessary physical needs and acts. Direct
speech, even if necessary, is interdicted. The awful topics
must be broached in shameful whispers, and new words
coined to express natural functions. Certain books are
E laced on the parental index. There is a constant, almost
jverish anxiety lest the girl of fourteen should know
" those things that no nice girl should know." There is a
strict code of modest posture, demeanour, reticence and
thought, which intensely accentuates the girl's reserve, but
by no means diminishes her inquisitiveness.
This " education " is often carried to incredibly ridiculous
lengths. The girl is told practically that virtue and attrac-
tiveness are synonymous with a colossal ignorance of life,
until she may cherish an ideal that dullness and stupidity
are the greatest of feminine charms. The censorship upon
the acquisition of knowledge of the fundamental matters
of human existence fosters an apathy towards, or a recoil
from, learning in general. The curiosity, which is the
hopeful germ of an inquiring spirit and habit, is starved,
or destroyed, or diverted from the subjects that matter to
idle inquisition about the petty doings of neighbours and
trivial gossip and scandal-spreading.
204 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
When the ill-educated young woman reaches the age of
marriage, her mind is a mass of misconceptions, pruderies,
prejudices, disgusts and monstrous errors in all that relates
to sex love. From sheer ignorance, she may have formed
habits that will mar or ruin conjugal harmony. Her up-
bringing may become the direct cause of recoil from
normal married love, or of erotic hysterical or neurasthenic
symptoms that will bring misery to herself and her husband.
These instances of the detrimental effects upon the
character and mind of women, when reasonable knowledge
is withheld or discountenanced, are not hypothetical, but
typical of average homes in societies described as " cultured."
We may note numerous families among our acquaintances
wherein the young men are more or less promiscuous in
their sex relations, scornful of chastity, and entirely dis-
regardful of their responsibility to the race ; while the
young women are scrupulously shielded from vital know-
ledge, generally stunted in intelligence, and warped in
judgment upon the conduct of the sex life in relation to
morality, hygiene and maternity. It cannot be said that
youth brought up with these pernicious falsities of a vary-
ing standard of sex morality for men and women, without
scientific knowledge, and without reverence for love and
parentage, are likely to hand on a finer tradition to their
It is extremely doubtful whether the prudish opposition
to sexual enlightenment is mainly feminine. I am inclined
to the opinion that the resistance is stronger in men, and
that the legitimate desire of woman to learn has been
immensely inhibited by masculine objection. There is
every possible evidence that men have stubbornly resisted
women's demands for a broader education. This hostility
to the cultivation of the mind of woman is powerfully
instanced in the matter of sex education. We know fathers
of families who think that boys may be allowed to learn
a few physiological facts, but that girls should be kept in
the darkest possible ignorance until marriage. The main
desire of the austerely conservative conventional man has
been to preserve the patriarchal tradition of the "protection "
of women through ignorance.
Although an intelligent, inquiring adolescent girl may
WOMAN'S PART IN SEX EDUCATION 205
desire an ^-vntial understanding of life, she is rarely able
.press this longing frankly. She is forced to conceal 1
curiosity. This concealment is necessary in the environ-
ment in \vluYh she is reared and educated. Candid inquiry
would be clremed unwomanly or improper; therefore the
girl is forced to assume an attitude of incuriosity and of
ignorance. She must cherish at all costs a reputation for
extreme delicacy and reserve. Now this self-protecting
pose often engenders dissimulation, pretence and even
Usually a woman dare not be truthful, if she desires to
maintain the esteem of her associates, and especially of her
men associates. Men say that women tend to be un-
truthful, deceptive, and secretive, forgetting that women
are in the main as men wish them to be. If truth and
frankness are condemned as unfeminine, what course is
open to women in the mass save pretence and unveracity ?
We say that women are notoriously inaccurate, that
they have no apperception of scientific precision, and that
they are more emotional than reflective. But how much
of this apparent dislike of the truth is inherent and how
much is attributable to nurture, custom and social in-
fluences ? I believe that nine-tenths of woman's tendency
to intellectual timidity is due simply to her faulty education
and her compliance with masculine standards of feminine
The natural spirit of inquiry in women concerning the
greatest of the human emotions is demonstrated by the fact
that many of the earliest writers on questions of sex were
women. It is shown by the avidity with which novels and
love tales are read by women. This desire for knowledge
is, above all, evidenced by the intellectual zeal with which
educated women of to-day respond to the request of the
scientific investigators of sex problems for assistance in
collecting data and forming clear opinions. There is prob-
ably not a single volume of such research which has been
written without the co-operation of earnest and thoughtful
women. Furthermore, some of the most valuable and
practical modern volumes upon sex hygiene are the work of
Whenever intelligent women free their minds from the
206 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
impedimenta of their early nurture and the resistances
fostered by the vulgar, social view of sex, they tend to excel
men in truth-telling, in fine intuition and in courage. They
realise acutely the absolute need for plain discussion of
subjects that deeply concern woman's racial obligations,
her relation to man, her social status, her most sacred
emotions, her physical well-being and the culture of her
In this great reform I look confidently for the help of
earnest-minded women. It is they who can aid most
efficiently in producing " that social state of mind in which
the whole question of sex will be lifted from the filth of the
street to its proper spiritual setting." *
The preoccupation of women with the profound emotion
that unites the sexes is unquestionably normal. It is true
that obsessions occasionally arise and lead to erotomania,
or an excessive yearning for love. But the natural craving
for man's ardour and affection should never be confused
with abnormality. This desire should be made one of the
great uplifting and spiritual influences of young woman-
hood. The girl who with sweet candour admits a longing
for love to her mother should not be foolishly reproved or
idly bantered ; but the aspiration should be welcomed as
an indication of a capacity for fulfilling a supreme duty and
a natural destiny.
There are persons who affect that an interest in love is a
sort of perversion, and who class as " cranks " all those who
evince a desire to understand this passion. It is just this
disesteem of healthy impulse which induces self-deception
in women, and renders them morbidly reserved concerning
their strongest emotions. The dread of contempt or deri-
sion drives the perfectly sane desires into the darkest corners
of the mind, where they are apt to become transformed into
We must destroy the falsehood that it is unseemly or im-
modest for an adolescent girl, or for any woman, to confess
a longing for love and marriage. It should be known that
1 Havelock Ellis in New Statesman, 25th May 1918.
WOMAN'S PART IN SEX EDUCATION 207
sexual precocity in childhood is more fivqurnt among girls
than boys, and that girls air muir susceptible than their
brothers to an early development of sentimental love. We
should recognise also that the deprivation of love has more
injurious physical and mental results upon women than
men. Furthermore, the craving for motherhood is, in a
vast number of women, the profoundest of all human long-
ings. These are facts that should convince us of the
immense sway of love in woman's life. The dominance of
the reproductive impulse is more diffused and more im-
portant in the female than in the male. l
It is therefore apparent that rational sex education is of
extreme importance for women, not only for their personal
well-being, but in the interest of their children and the com-
munity at large. The whole social attitude to the sexual
relationship could be raised if women were more solicitous
in this matter. As it is, the sex question is not seriously
considered by the bulk of the mothers of the race. This
apathy has lamentable results upon the young, who should
look to the mother for the natural appeasing of childish
Beginning with prudent and sympathetic enlightenment
in the home, the training of girls in this sphere of racial and
civic science should be continued in the schools in graduated
biological class teaching, in private and personal conversa-
tion with capable instructors, and in the direction of a choice
of suitable reading. The time may not be far off when we
shall institute schools for preparing young men and women
for marriage and parentage. We shall probably recognise
that a training for conjugality is quite as important as a
training for business.
In these colleges students would be taught, as a part of
general culture, that it is the first duty of men and women
to understand the nature of the fundamental physiological
and psychic differences between the sexes. Race improve-
ment would be elevated to the status of religion or ethics.
The care of motherhood would be respected as an impera-
tive social duty. Child nurture would be based upon sound
psychology and scientific hygiene.
We may already see portents of a new estimate of sexual
1 See The Psychology of Marriage, chapter iv.
208 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
love as a prime moralising and socialising influence. The
war has deepened some of the problems of sex, and aroused
a spirit of inquiry and a widespread solicitude for the diffu-
sion of knowledge, which will aid us in forming a practical
morality and a protective hygiene.
VIEWS OF MODERN TEACHERS
I HAVE invited the opinions of several English educationists
upon the scope and methods of sex teaching in schools and
colleges. In a fair number of instances I have received
replies to my letters and some of the communications have
proved very helpful. But there are still many teachers
who have not reached any definite conclusions and many
more who, while they have a general approval of this
scholastic reform, have no concrete plan and no tenta-
tive suggestions to offer. Many headmasters and head-
mistresses seem to be solicitous in the matter and to desire
the aid of full discussion of the question as a part of
pedagogics. Some teachers still shirk the question.
The Headmaster of Rugby School, Mr DAVID, refers to
a pamphlet by Mr Gary Gilson, M.A., King Edward's
School, Birmingham, which he strongly recommends.
This is A Letter to Parents.** Mr David states that
he " agrees entirely with Mr Gilson," who thinks that
children's questions should be answered, and that en-
lightenment should be gradual. The Letter states that " no
reliance can be placed on the ascetic ideal as a motive for
chastity and self-control to be put before boys, but immense
confidence in the ideal of happy marriage to which such self-
control is an indispensable preliminary." Mr Gilson is of
the opinion that " the advice should be given viva voce in
quiet and entirely private conversation, not necessarily
or even desirably restricted to these particular subjects.
Instruction must be graduated: (i) in the nursery ; (2) in
the school ; (3) in the middle stage of the school course at
puberty ; (4) upon leaving school at eighteen to nineteen."
Mr T. H. BADLEY, Headmaster of Bedales School, Peters-
1 Parents and teachers can obtain copies of the pamphlet for sixpence
from the Secretary, King Edward's School, Birmingham.
2io A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
field, issues a sensible pamphlet, which he sends to the
parents of his pupils. It contains an outline of his own
views and practice in the matter of sex education. Mr
Badley writes in a letter :
" I feel most strongly that the beginning should be made
by the mother, in order that the subject may always, if the
foundation is laid in this way, be associated with her in the
child's mind. The more definite instruction is best given,
as a rule, I believe, by someone, either the schoolmaster or
medical man, who can put the thing on a quite scientific
and matter-of-fact basis ; but only if he knows the boy well
enough to have his confidence.
" Something, no doubt, can be done in class in the course
of lessons on plant or animal physiology or hygiene, but I
doubt myself whether the most valuable teaching can be
given in this way, for the reason that boys, as a rule, are not
able to treat the thing so simply or to talk of their own ideas
and puzzles in one another's presence ; and a mere lecture
is not all that is wanted, but help in meeting the boys'
" At the same time some mention of the subject in the
course of the ordinary class work is of real help in making
it a matter of scientific interest and putting it on the same
footing as other kinds of knowledge, and so helping to
remove the feeling of ' stolen waters ' and ' bread eaten
in secret,' which is too apt to be the result of speaking of it
only in private and with any air of mystery and hesitation.
What, above all, one wants to avoid is the idea on the child's
part that there is anything to cause shame in the facts or
the knowledge of them, so long as they are honestly come
by and thought of cleanly, and associated with our best
feelings instead of our meanest.
" It needs, I think, a feeling of freedom and confidence
on both sides, and must be varied to suit the individual
child ; for this reason I have not much belief in putting
books on the subject into the hands of the child and expect-
ing them to do all that is required. They may be easily
misunderstood or misused. Nor, for the same reason,
would I trust to sermons or to general talks to several at
once. I attach far more value to a good talk with the boy,
alone, at the age of fourteen or fifteen (I assume that this is
VIEWS OF MODl'RX TK.VHKRS 211
not the first time he has been talked with, but I should wish
it to be by his parents his mother especially beforr- ho
comes to school and in the earlier years there) a talk which
will make it easy for him to come and talk again if he wants
to, and another before he leaves school on the new condi-
tions and dangers he will then meet. This seems to me to
be required whether there is any class teaching or not.
" I am afraid that these rather disconnected notes will
not be of much use to you, but perhaps from these and the
Note JOY Parents you will at least be able to see along what
lines I feel that the problem is best approached."
The Rev. W. T. A. BARBER, The Leys School, Cambridge,
thinks that all children should have guidance and a certain
amount of information. This should be given in the early
stage by the mother. It should not be too detailed, but it
should be frank, and it should be always associated with
mother love. One mother told the Rev. W. T. A. Barber
that when she informed her little son that he came from her
body he said : " That must be the reason why I love you
" When the boy grows his father should give him some
information about his physical nature and some warning
as to the possibility of abuse of that nature. This should
be done in a friendly and non-alarmist way. My custom at
a good-sized boarding-school is to send a carefully written
booklet, originally made for the boys of this school, under
the imprimatur of the Association of School Medical Officers,
to the father, with a covering letter. I ask him to let his
boy read it as sent by his headmaster and to make sure that
it is understood.
" It is important that this knowledge and warning should
come with the united force of the authority of home and
school. The boy gives up the book and is advised not to
talk about it. On the whole this is as good a plan as I
know. I certainly do not advise class instruction ; and
occasional reference to the principles of purity in sermons
and Scripture lessons is quite easy, but detailed instruction
s pupils far too self-conscious, and self-consciousness is
to be avoided at all costs.
" Even in religion, which is the supreme power to
ncoquer wrong of this, as of every type, much thinking
212 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
about it is mischievous. The only way is to claim divine
help and then vigorously turn attention to something else."
Mr LOWERISON, Ruskin House School, Heacham, Norfolk,
believes that in a co-education school, such as his, repro-
duction may be taught by simple botanical lessons and not
much beyond this in class teaching. He illustrates sym-
bolically adolescent restraint by the pinching of buds of
an immature fruit tree, which must not be allowed to bear
so young. Mr Lowerison, in dealing directly with sex
questions, makes use of the tenth Law of the Scouts. All
his pupils are Scouts and Girl Guides.
He knows of no book or pamphlet that is of any good.
"The individual must be appealed to. The bairns love
and reverence their mothers and fathers, and all the more
the mother when they feel how much she has borne for them.
Still, very much can be done in class, but such lessons have
to be gone over word by word almost beforehand/'
IRA S. WILE, M.D., Lecturer in the New York University
School of Pedagogy and Editor Medical Review of Reviews,
states that "Sex education merits careful consideration
because it is an essential feature of the implied educational
value of education itself. . . . The church, the home, and
the school have uniformly and consciously avoided giving
the essential information for proper sex conduct, despite
the fact that such neglect has brought untold suffering
to humanity." Dr Wile holds that fundamental facts
should be taught in the home. After the seventh grade is
reached in the schools, teaching should be given in a specific
form by well-informed sympathetic instructors. " In the
high schools it is possible to give a few definite lectures."
The teaching must be " upon a high biological, ethical and
social plane." Individualised sex instruction is not practi-
cal in a Public School, save in special cases, and such means
tend to " accentuate the peculiar qualities of the instruction
given ... of primal importance in the education of the
1 Teachers may be advised to read Dr Wile's book on Sex Educa-
tion, and also a very instructive chapter "Sex Hygiene and Sex
Education," in Educational Hygiene, an excellent work. Edited by
L. W. Rapeer, Professor of Education, Pennsylvania State College
(Scribner, New York and Boston).
VIEWS OF MODERN TEACHERS 213
Principal STANLEY HALL writes : "At Williams College,
Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Clark, I have made it a duty
in my departmental teaching to speak very briefly but
plainly to young men under my instruction, personally if
I deemed it wise, and often, though here only in general
terms, before student bodies, and I believe I have nowhere
done more good, but it is a painful duty. It requires tact
and some degree of hard and strenuous common-sense
rather than technical knowledge " (Adolescence, vol. i.).
Miss L. M. FAITHFULL, Principal of the Ladies' College,
Cheltenham, embodies her views in a printed Address to
the Headmistresses of Elementary Schools in the Diocese of
Canterbury. The Address contains several valuable sugges-
tions. Miss Faithfull thinks that school instruction may
lessen the parents' sense of responsibility, and she holds
that the parent is the proper teacher. Much discretion
must be used in imparting knowledge to girls. " Some
girls have a natural dislike to, and a shrinking from, all
physical details, whereas others have a spirit of curiosity
which insists on being satisfied. A wise mother realising
this difference in temperament between her two daughters,
yet at the same time aware of the necessity of safeguarding
each by an adequate knowledge of the facts of life, dealt
with the difficulty in this way. She told one that in so far
as she has a disinclination for such knowledge, she would
only tell her what was absolutely necessary, while she
made the other feel that her curiosity was natural, not in
any way a thing to be ashamed of."
Miss Faithfull suggests that the lady doctor may be called
in to make up for the deficiencies of the parents. When
opportunity occurs, as in " reading Shakespeare, in the
physiology or history lesson, or the discussion of social or
economic problems, the matter must not be shirked."
The aspects of the "physical side of life" must be taught
when necessary, but there need not be specific lessons for
introducing the subject.
Mrs S. PLATT, The Home School, Grindleford, Sheffield,
who has a hundred pupils of both sexes, writes :
"The knowledge should never be forced upon children.
Therefore all class teaching on the subject seems to me
totally wrong, as some of the class might be ready for the
214 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
knowledge, and to others it would either be meaningless or
would come as a shock. But class teaching on any subject
is doomed to die a natural death sooner or later, and to be
replaced by individual teaching. The teacher must guide
and direct the child but must not force him along lines
arbitrarily laid down.
" It follows from the above that all teaching of botany or
zoology which has sex teaching as a definite aim, or even
as a side issue, is psychologically wrong. The pupil will
learn a great deal about sex in both subjects, but the
knowledge must come naturally through the study of the
plant or animal by the pupil, under the guidance of
"Children should be brought up in the country, where
they can study plants and animals in their natural
"Boys and girls should be educated together, work
together, play together, swim together. Unwholesome
curiosity in either sex arises when the sexes are separate.
The facts connected with birth are of extreme interest,
though not to every child. Some children show no
interest whatever in the matter. Where the ideal environ-
ment is lacking (an environment in which boys and girls
would naturally arrive at the truth for themselves) the
parent and not the teacher should tell children the facts
when they wish to know. ,
" But as, unfortunately, the beautiful facts of life are still
regarded as impure by some, it is well to warn the child
that the knowledge is not common property, and must not
be talked about amongst one's companions.
"It is my firm belief that if the natural questions of
children were answered by their parents fully and directly,
all ' nasty ' talk and ' nasty ' habits in school would be
unheard of. It is the duty of teachers to urge the parents
to answer the questions of their children ; I do not consider
it to be the duty of any teacher or lecturer to give this
knowledge himself. The child would rarely ask the teacher,
and it does not come into the province of the lecturer, as
a student is quite able to get the knowledge for himself,
and has probably got it in some way or other long ago.
"Finally, there is far too much teaching and talk. The
VIEWS OF MODERN TEACHERS 215
to aim at in all schools is : (r) The best environment
possible country life pure air co-education natural
and healthful surroundings. (2) In the school a high ideal
of life and conduct on the part of teacher and pupil.
" In other words, ' atmosphere ' is everything. One can
never get perfection, but one can aim at it."
Miss MARION WHITE, Principal, Wilton House School,
Reading, considers it of vital consequence to girls that they
should be instructed in the knowledge of sex conduct and
hygiene before they leave the shelter of school life. This
knowledge should be givem by the mothers ; but if the mothers
evade this responsibility, they should authorise the school-
mistress to give the necessary instruction and counsel.
Miss White recognises that the position of the teacher is
made extremely difficult unless she is entirely assured that
the parents approve of this teaching. Many school-
mistresses who recognise the necessity for this guidance are
afraid of giving offence to the parents of their pupils. This
is the difficulty with which many earnest-minded teachers
Miss MARGARET G. BONDFIELD, Secretary Women's
Labour League, speaking at the Public Morals Conference,
London, 1910, said :
" I wonder if you can realise what it means to a girl
in an elementary school of, say, twelve years of age to
be introduced to a knowledge of the relation of the other
sex by means of information, startling, vulgar, crudely
expressed, and communicated to her by some other girl
as ill-informed as herself. ... I have a vivid recollec-
tion, when I attended a Board School, that the facts of sex
were broken to me in the crudest, rudest and most vulgar
way. I remember that for years and years the horror
remained with me, and it was only many years after that
I met with a good woman who had the knowledge, the tact
and the necessary influence to be able to wipe out the nasty
impression that had been made on my mind about the facts
connected with the sacred transmission of life from one
generation to another. And so I make an appeal to you
who have had the advantage of cultured training, who have
had yie privilege of being initiated into the mysteries of sex
by people who could carefully choose their words, who have
216 A TEXT-BOOK OF SEX EDUCATION
been taught the dignity and reverence of parenthood, to
remember that the working-class woman, much as she desires
to safeguard her child, much as she desires to send her
into the world with a knowledge that will guide her, does
not know how to impart that knowledge. . . . We want
the pure and noble-minded people to see to this matter"
(The Nation's Morals).
THE RIVERSIDE PRESS LIMITED, EDINBURGH
BINDING DEPT. JUL101959
University of Toronto
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